"McCarthy wanted to help lead the way with this industry-wide effort because we believe the most impactful way to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion across the construction industry is for us all to work together toward this shared goal together," said Antonya Williams, Education Group Business Unit Leader, McCarthy Building Companies Southwest Region.
Since the start of Construction Inclusion Week two years ago, Williams said that she is seeing increased rates of interest and participation in the construction industry from those of diverse backgrounds.
"We believe our collective efforts will help to move the needle towards creating a more welcoming, inclusive, and accessible culture within the industry as a whole — in fact, we're seeing this across the nation,” Williams said. “We want to ensure that others know how rewarding careers in construction can be and develop a pipeline of talented workers and skilled tradespeople for the future. Collaborative efforts like this help our industry to achieve these goals and have an impact on communities and individuals everywhere. Building community in these ways helps our industry, our clients, and the economy. It's incredibly impactful."
Students participated in various activities, including:
- Building circuit connectivity kits that allowed the students to learn about materials that do or do not conduct electricity (i.e. wood, plastic, metal)
- Checking out construction equipment, including a Bobcat that was on site
- Having industry professionals from McCarthy read construction-related stories to expose students to the industry at an early age
“It is up to all of us to cultivate a welcoming, inclusive, and accessible culture within the industry that students are excited to be a part of,” said McCarthy Project Director Andrea Ramos, who oversaw the construction project at Palomino. “These students represent our future. You never know what might pique their interest and impact their lives down the road. Many of our employees have fond memories of loved ones who worked in construction, being enamored with construction equipment, or loving hands-on building activities that they were exposed to at school when they were young. We're hopeful that we'll spark that same interest in these students and that they will one day help build schools, hospitals, airports, and other projects too."
The $15 million Palomino Primary School project included construction of a nearly 40,000-square-foot, two-story classroom building and 21,000 square feet of renovation work, along with new playgrounds and play fields. During construction of the school, Ramos said the project team coordinated with the school district and the 4-5th grade science and math classes at the adjacent Palomino Intermediate School to provide on-site learning experiences and project site tours.
In addition to the event in Phoenix, more than 6,000 of McCarthy’s salaried and craft professionals participated activities held throughout Construction Inclusion Week. These included kickoff events and toolbox talks at jobsites and offices, live company-wide webinars and virtual panel discussions, local supplier diversity open house events, and local community engagement and outreach activities. The activities helped to further build awareness around the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion at McCarthy and engaged many new people in the effort and conversation.
“We plan to continue building upon the momentum that we achieve during CIW throughout the year,” Williams said. “McCarthy believes that through outreach and community engagement, more people from all different backgrounds and perspectives will see construction and its impact and may join our industry or gain an understanding of how it impacts their lives and their community.”