Build MO Week Will Drive Home Statewide Transportation Needs and Workforce Diversity Priorities

in Associations/News

By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS & REVIEW MAGAZINE 

The Associated General Contractors of Missouri, Southern Illinois Builders Association and St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council want industry players to know that October 1-5 is Build MO Week, an annual celebration of all who contribute to St. Louis’ built environment.

Ken Simonson, chief economist of the AGC, will be sharing data-driven perspectives on the economic impact of construction across the St. Louis region and the nation at a luncheon on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at the Missouri Athletic Club. AGC MO President Len Toenjes said the event is co-sponsored by SIBA, AGC MO’s east side counterpart.

On Wednesday, Oct. 3, AGC MO and The Road Information Program (TRIP) – a D.C.-based nonprofit surface transportation advocacy organization – will both be hitting the road to present press conferences in Springfield, St. Louis, Kansas City and Columbia about pressing construction and transportation issues including the condition of roads and bridges across Missouri. The program is entitled “Missouri Transportation by the Numbers.” For more information on locations and times, contact the AGC MO at (314) 781-2356.

“AGC MO will speak to construction and TRIP will speak to infrastructural needs across our state,” said Toenjes. “As far as Build MO Week is concerned, our message is one that crosses all construction sectors. Whether it’s hospitality, infrastructure, education, health care or just the overall impact that our industry has on the state – on economic development, workforce development, quality of life and job creation – this is a real opportunity for all of us to help the public understand what our industry is all about. Even though construction is all around us, it’s like the air or the tap water…we tend to take it for granted. Every so often, it’s incumbent on us to take the time to recognize the hard work of talented people who make these projects happen.”

Both Toenjes and St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer John Stiffler are hoping the educational outreach and recruitment facets of Build MO Week will also draw attention to solid career opportunities available to those who choose to work in construction.

Stiffler will be speaking in multiple venues next week for Build MO Week, including at the first-ever State of the Program Meeting for the Building Union Diversity Program (BUD) on Wednesday, Oct. 3 at the United Way of Greater St. Louis. United Way is a partner in the 5-week construction career exploration program that is wrapping up its 4th year in operation. “We’ve graduated 14 classes since its inception, with an 87 percent graduation rate and an 87 percent job placement rate,” said Stiffler. “Our goal is to continue recruiting more young women and African Americans into the construction trades so that our construction workforce more closely resembles the communities that we serve,” he added. “We welcome all interested individuals to attend this (midday) meeting, which will include our recruitment and placement outcomes, our efforts in client support services, partnership expansion and resource development. We’ve been taking baby steps, but we’re doing it and we’re committed to removing barriers which prevent women and minorities from succeeding in rewarding construction careers.”

To RSVP for the Building Council’s BUD Program lunch on Oct. 3, RSVP no later than Monday, Oct. 1 by calling (314) 303-6082.

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