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April 13, 2020
Our team in Austin looks forward to Construction Inclusion Week all year, gearing up for five days of jobsite and office gatherings and events designed to promote awareness, engagement, and solidarity around big topics that matter—everything from unconscious bias in the workplace to recruitment and mentorship to supplier diversity to navigating a multi-generation workforce.
“Daily themes like ‘Commitment and Accountability,’ ‘Belonging,’ and ‘Jobsite Culture’ give us some overarching structure as well as a way into these conversations that can be challenging, but that we all want—need!—to have,” said HT, who manages the local Community and Citizenship program in Austin. He emphasized that the chance to think broadly and collectively about the very idea of inclusion is part of what makes the week so valuable. “We work hard and we work under pressure so we’re definitely in it together, but that pace means there isn’t always time to reflect on how we can be each other’s best partners, allies, and champions, both in our work and more widely in the industry. Construction Inclusion Week makes space for that type of reflection.”
For example, as part of a day focused on supplier diversity, Turner brought in representatives from contractors’ associations like the AGC and ABC, as well as representatives from the City of Austin, for a candid exchange about the best ways to engage diverse groups and businesses on city projects—and the best ways to support and empower the communities where those projects are underway.
Women in construction were at the center of a day organized around the idea that perspective matters, discussing everything from mentorship and advancement to compensation and family leave through the lens of their unique experiences.
And, as part of a day focused on youth, mentorship, and protegee relationships, conversations turned around recruitment, the talent pipeline into the industry, and a future in which older generations are retiring and fewer people are making their way to careers in construction.
“During the week, Turner leaders were in rooms on sites every day to help facilitate these discussions,” added HT. “They weren’t there to go down a checklist about how to build culture or some other superficial reason. They were there to listen. They really wanted to hear from people about what they need and what they want to see as the company grows.”
One of this year’s highlights came at the end of the week in the form of a luncheon sponsored by a local organization called The Cook’s Nook, whose work includes promoting and advancing food access, equity, security, and sustainability in several ways.
“One of the things I appreciate about Inclusion Week is that it gives us a chance to take a really broad view, and to think about how our commitment to inclusion in construction can and should reach beyond construction spaces,” said HT. “The conversation we had about food inclusion, led by our new friends from Cooks Nook, was one of the most illuminating parts of the week. We talked about everything from privilege and access to the ways food can be a tool for social connection, mutual care, and healing. And, of course, we ate well.”