Get to know the Greater and Inclusive Philadelphia Construction Program: A nonprofit to diversify the city’s construction workforce
After a successful two-year pilot program, organizers Post Brothers and RANG will take their construction pre-apprenticeship effort to new levels.
The graduation ceremony for this year’s second annual Post Brothers and Richard Allen New Generation (RANG) construction pre-apprenticeship program on Oct. 27 at Orleans Technical College may not have included the attendance as the inaugural year thanks to COVID-19, but it was full of just as much excitement about the next chapter of the program.
Following what was deemed a successful second year of the pre-apprenticeship pilot that graduated 20 participants from surrounding Philadelphia communities, Post Brothers and RANG announced the creation of a nonprofit to continue its mission of diversifying the city’s construction workforce.
The newly-certified 501(c)3 nonprofit, known as the Greater and Inclusive Philadelphia Construction Program (GIPC), was created to offer a more inclusive approach to getting more diversity in city construction.
Despite being a development-heavy city, Philadelphia lacks both enough diverse firms to contract for work and enough diversity within its overall construction workforce.
The Kenney administration has made it one of its goals to increase the diversity of who gets city contracts and succeeded in reaching its Rebuild goal of surpassing 35% of all contracts in 2019 that went to minority-owned firms.
But 35% is not comparable yet to the majority-minority city that is 44% Black and 15% Latino according to census data — data that will be updated next year and likely show even bigger percentages of the overall city population.
The effects of the coronavirus pandemic have also yet to reveal whether the city maintained, improved, or regressed from its 35% goal met in 2019.
Across the country, minority-owned businesses were largely left out from COVID-19 small business relief programs, including the federal one as part of the CARES Act.
For the Post Brothers and RANG, the coronavirus pandemic meant its graduating class was smaller in the second year, as some applicants to the pre-apprenticeship program had to withdraw to get immediate work and support their households.
In total, 43 individuals graduated in two years from the pilot program that will now be GIPC.
The program included a 100-hour curriculum for participants that touched on everything from OSHA 10 certification, Fall weather protection, basic measuring skills, electrical work, carpentry, plumbing, drywall insertion, HVAC, first aid and CPR, and professional development.
All 23 of the first-year graduates are employed as skilled apprentices with local contractors.
Following the 2020 ceremony, a recruitment day was held for all 20 graduates to interview with 14 participating construction companies for potential employment opportunities.