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The UP Companies

The UP Companies Receives 2018 MOKAN Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Award

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The UP Companies (UPCO) was honored on Nov. 16 with a Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Award from MOKAN, a St. Louis-based advocate organization and facilitator for the inclusion of minority and women-owned businesses on construction projects.

The award is presented annually to an individual or organization in the construction industry that demonstrates dedication and commitment to diversity in the workplace and the inclusion of minority and women workers.

Minority-owned UPCO, which consists of Power Up Electrical Contractors, Square UP Builders and Hustle UP, has taken great measures to promote inclusion and diversity within St. Louis’ construction industry and its own workforce, and it continues to make a generational impact on the lives of St. Louis area minorities seeking career guidance.

UPCO employs a diverse, skilled, union workforce that consistently meets or exceeds minority participation requirements on every project. UPCO currently employs over 75 union apprentices and has grown its workforce from an initial 30 to more than 250, which includes 20% minorities.

UPCO has also initiated several programs aimed at recruiting a diverse workforce and encouraging young minorities to pursue careers in skilled labor. Company representatives regularly visit high schools, technical high schools, trade schools and universities throughout the St. Louis area to recruit minority students for training at the Carpenters Union and Electricians Local 57. UPCO even offers its employees incentives to seek out and hire qualified minority workers. Once entered in the union program, UPCO ensures that the students get “the right start” as apprentices by providing them with tools and scheduling their job assignments near public transportation when needed. UPCO sponsors these young adults into the union where their educations are paid for through their benefits package.

“UPCO has continued to realize the value in mentoring young minorities and is striving to give disadvantaged youth throughout the St. Louis area the opportunity to pursue a lifelong, respectable career in skilled labor,” said UPCO Owner Michael Kennedy, Jr. “Not all high school graduates go on to college. There are plenty of skilled labor jobs available right here in St. Louis with competitive salaries and benefits just waiting for them.”

About The Up Companies

The UP Companies (UPCO) is one of the region’s largest full-service MBE-certified contracting companies. UPCO’s firms are Square UP Builders, a primary source of high-quality commercial and residential rough and finish carpentry and drywall services employing over 150 carpenters and laborers; Power UP Electrical Contractors, a leader in electrical systems design, installation and maintenance, and the largest minority-owned full-service electrical contractor in the St. Louis region with more than 60 skilled union electricians; Keep UP Commercial Services, a multi-faceted company providing grounds and building maintenance, construction and repair, and cleaning services to commercial property owners; and Hustle UP, a certified minority business enterprise offering general labor services, construction progress cleaning, site maintenance and selective demolition services. For more information, go to www.theupcompanies.com or call 314.865.3888.

The UP Companies Sets Standards for Recruiting a Diverse Workforce, Promoting Skilled Labor Among St. Louis Minorities

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction jobs will grow faster than the average for all other occupations from 2014 to 2024. Despite the apparent abundance of construction work, St. Louis trades, unions and construction companies continue to struggle to find qualified, diverse workers.

 

Minority-owned The UP Companies (UPCO), which consists of Power UP Electrical Contractors and Square UP Builders, is taking several steps toward boosting diversity and making a generational impact on the St. Louis metropolitan area workforce by reaching out to minority students and hiring qualified minorities.

 

“We know that union membership in Missouri has declined from 15.5% in 1989 to 8.8% in recent years, and that the majority of union workers are between the ages of 45 and 64, so why aren’t more young minorities pursuing careers in the trades after high school? We are working diligently to change the perception of skilled labor,” said UPCO owner Michael Kennedy, Jr.

 

High school graduates who do not pursue a college education are more likely to seek employment in the trades, said Kennedy. In St. Louis City and County combined, 71% of individuals with just a high school diploma are minorities and women, and 29% are white men, according to the Coro Fellowship report.

 

Not all high school graduates go to college and there are plenty of skilled labor jobs currently available with competitive salaries and benefits, said Kennedy. A union apprentice can earn a yearly salary of $30,000 – $55,000, plus benefits and overtime pay, while a journeyman or foreman can earn upwards of $85,000 a year.

 

“With more young people pursuing college degrees after high school, less are showing an interest in learning skilled trades and joining unions, opting for other jobs that typically pay less and require less skills,” said Kennedy. “The construction consumer demand for quality, competitive pricing and a diverse workforce is increasing all the time. The industry needs more minority workers, particularly now when more and more Baby Boomers are retiring.”

UPCO has continued to realize the value in mentoring young minorities and is striving to give disadvantaged students in St. Louis City and County the opportunity for a lifelong, respectable career in skilled labor.

 

The UP Companies employs a diverse, skilled, union workforce that consistently meets or exceeds minority participation requirements on every project and provides sub-contractor services at a more competitive price. UPCO currently employs 75 union apprentices and has grown its workforce from an initial 30 to 220, which includes 20% minorities.

 

UPCO has initiated several programs aimed at recruiting a diverse workforce and encouraging careers in skilled labor among minorities. Company representatives regularly visit high schools, technical high schools, trade schools and universities throughout the St. Louis area to recruit minority students for training at the Carpenters Union and Electricians Local 57. The UP Companies even offers its employees incentives to seek out and hire qualified minority workers.

Once entered in the union program, UPCO ensures that the students get the “right start” as apprentices by providing them with tools and scheduling their job assignments near public transportation when needed. UPCO sponsors these young adults into the union where their educations are paid for through their benefits package.

 

For more information about career opportunities with The UP Companies, visit www.theupcompanies.com/careers.

 

The UP Companies (UPCO) is one of the region’s largest full-service, MBE-certified contracting companies. UPCO’s firms are Square UP Builders, a primary source of high-quality commercial and residential rough and finish carpentry and drywall services employing over 150 carpenters and laborers; Power UP Electrical Contractors, a leader in electrical systems design, installation and maintenance, and the largest minority-owned, full-service electrical contractor in the St. Louis region with more than 60 skilled union electricians; and Keep UP Commercial Services, a multi-faceted company providing grounds and building maintenance, construction and repair, and cleaning services to commercial property owners. For more information, go to www.theupcompanies.com or call 314.865.3888.

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