Union News

Shared expectations on Union project yield positive community engagement

Categories: Press Releases, Union News

For Union’s Hastings Hall renovation project, administrators set out to establish goals with Consigli Construction that were in line with the seminary’s social justice mission and sought to provide opportunities for minority workers and Minority-owned, Women-owned and Locally-based Business Enterprises (MWLBE). Seven months into the project, Consigli has made significant progress towards these goals.

The workforce goal, based on total project hours, was set at 30% minority worker and 5% female worker. Consigli’s subcontractors exceeded this goal with 86.7% minority workers and 5.3% female workers. The goal for MWLBE subcontractors/suppliers/vendors was set at 15 percent minority/women and 5 percent local of the total amount of awarded contracts. Consigli was very close to meeting this goal with 12.71% of contracts awarded to MWBE and 1.58% to LBE, awarding nearly $5 million in contracts to these enterprises. One such contract went to Turtle & Hughes, an independent, women-owned business that is an electrical contractor.

At the beginning of the project Consigli hired an area resident as Diversity/Community Outreach Coordinator who became a key component in working with local community organizations and focusing on these important measures. One of the first tasks undertaken was hosting a local job fair in Harlem that provided direct access to some of the project subcontractors. Nearly 150 people attended, several were interviewed and three workers were hired for the project.

Another important and far-reaching goal that was set involved Consigli developing a construction skills training program, with preference to residents within the three Morningside Heights zip codes. The program has been successful in training workers in new trades and in launching construction careers, like Barbara Davis, who had never worked in construction before and thanks to the program is an electrical apprentice and completed 212 hours on the project through October, 2019.

The commitment by Consigli to align with Union’s mission and have a positive impact in the local community manifested in additional ways beyond the contracts and workforce goals. Consigli organized a community garden workday in the Bronx where workers and Union community were both invited. They also developed a relationship with The Fortune Society, an organization that helps individuals with prior involvement with the justice system rebuild their lives through innovative services and advocacy. In working with the group, Consigli established an employment pipeline and three of Fortune’s clients have been hired into the construction skills program. These efforts, between Union and Consigli, show the range of possibilities that can come from working together toward a mission-driven, values-aligned goal that benefits beyond the project itself.