Polito salutes colleges for promoting diversity in construction

  • Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito speaks at Smith College on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/JACQUELYN VOGHEL

  • Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito stands with others representing various organizations at Tuesday’s Summit on Diversity in Construction at Smith College. STAFF PHOTO/JACQUELYN VOGHEL

  • Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito stands with others representing various organizations at Tuesday’s Summit on Diversity in Construction at Smith College. STAFF PHOTO/JACQUELYN VOGHEL

Staff Writer
Published: 10/8/2019 11:48:59 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Three area colleges and universities were recognized by state Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito on Tuesday for their efforts to provide increased opportunities for women and people of color in the construction field.

Polito visited the Smith College campus for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s Summit on Diversity in Construction, where stakeholders from western and central Massachusetts discussed strategies to boost the involvement of women and people of color in the construction industry — a field that is “under-accessed” by these communities, according to the commission, “particularly in central and western Massachusetts.”

“It matters to the workforce of Massachusetts that our workforce reflect the people who call Massachusetts home, or who wish to live in Massachusetts and make this their home,” Polito said. “We want to see our workplaces reflect the people of our commonwealth.”

These efforts also “open up more opportunities to communities of color, to women, to individuals and families across the commonwealth,” Polito said.

Following her keynote address on the state’s efforts to create these opportunities, Polito recognized several organizations in western and central Massachusetts that have undertaken diversity goals in diversity projects. In western Massachusetts, these organizations included Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, and the UMass Building Authority.

Polito highlighted Smith College’s Neilson Library construction as “an important local project creating opportunities for women and people of color.”

The ongoing project aims to achieve a workforce that is 7 percent women, 16 percent people of color, and 12 percent minority-owned business enterprise or woman-owned business enterprise.

Mount Holyoke College was the “first private construction project in central or western Mass. to include diversity goals,” Polito said, referring to the college’s Blanchard Community Center project.

Polito also commended UMass Building Authority “for comprehensively incorporating strong diversity numbers” into its project, in addition to other opportunities.

All of the organization’s projects over the past four years have exceeded diversity goals, Polito said. Although the initiative began at UMass Boston, it has since spread throughout the UMass system, including the Amherst campus.

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com.

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