This blog was guest authored by Melissa Robson, Program Manager of Workforce and Contractor Development at Elevate.
As climate action accelerates, growth in the construction of clean energy and high-performance buildings has also increased. In the face of this growth, Elevate recognizes the lack of diversity in the clean energy economy workforce nationally, and envisions an opportunity for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) entrepreneurs to become leaders in this growing economy. To reach this vision, Elevate collaborates in regional partnerships to drive programs that center community building, equity and inclusion in efforts to elevate and create access to opportunities for BIPOC-owned construction industry businesses.
Driving an Equitable and Inclusive Workforce in Kansas City, Missouri
This year, Elevate collaborated with Building Energy Exchange KC (BE-Ex KC), SEED Collective, and Business Services Collective (BSC) to design and launch a Contractor Accelerator. The Accelerator supports BIPOC-owned and woman-owned contractor businesses in effectively capitalizing on the rapid growth of the high-performance buildings and clean energy economy in Kansas City, Missouri.
The Rising Trades Contractor Accelerator supports contractors’ success directly through customized coaching, strategic pairings with professional service providers and mentors, and practical education. This program was designed to remove barriers that prevent contractors who have historically been underserved or left out of the clean energy economy from participating in industry opportunities.
The Rising Trades Contractor Accelerator launched in Spring 2022, with the first cohort gathering virtually in May. Since then, the inaugural cohort of entrepreneurs have attended educational workshops, participated in individual coaching sessions, and networked at industry events designed to support their business growth sustainability and provide access to opportunities. With the initial cohort passing the halfway point in the program, the program partners look forward to recruiting the next group of contractors interested in participating in the program.
Fahteema Parrish is the owner of Parrish & Sons Construction, one of the contractor businesses participating in the Rising Trades Contractor Accelerator. Fahteema says of the program, “It’s changed my thinking on how my company has been performing on an energy-proficiency standpoint starting with the existing projects that I have, such as the demolition of pavement on KCI airport. We’re recycling the demolished concrete by reusing it to prepare and stabilize the new KCI runway.”
To learn more about the Rising Trades Contractor Accelerator and program partners, visit: https://www.be-exkc.org/contractor-accelerator.
Elevate’s Small Business and Workforce Development
Elevate’s Contractor and Workforce Development programs prepare individuals and contractor businesses from underserved communities to build a career or grow a business in the clean energy economy. We collaborate with community partners to provide access to training, resources, and jobs to ensure an equitable, inclusive, and quality clean energy workforce.