Vote Marc Soberano

Nominated by Tarah Clarke
Vote For Nominee

As a general contracting social enterprise combined with a pre-apprenticeship and alumni program for marginalized community members Building Up is at the epicenter of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the trades. 100% of our participants are facing barriers to employment, 90% of which are racialized, and it is our role, and mission, to hire and work with these participants on our sites and in our programs to prepare and place them into trades careers that are successful and sustainable. Further, through our alumni program, our goal is to continue to work with our participants for as long as it takes, to ensure they advance and can navigate the many barriers of the apprenticeship pathway.

Has the individual led efforts that benefit targets for diverse hiring on construction projects associated with a community benefits agreement? Check the examples below that apply to the nominee

Dedicated outreach, recruitment, hiring and dispatch of equity seeking groups

Proactive strategies for job preparation, job retention and apprenticeship completion

Mobilizing and collaborating with stakeholders on new approaches to achieve equity, diversity and inclusion in construction workplaces

Collaboration with sector stakeholders on actions that result in more welcoming workplaces for diverse workers

Recruiting diverse journeypersons to become mentors to new entrants and apprentices Mentoring various youth

Became educated on Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmarks

Provide more detail about the actions taken, and any outcomes or measurable results for the actions selected above.

Building Up is a champion for community benefits but is not typically the project lead. We have however worked with several partners, including Metrolinx, to help support them in meeting their community benefits targets.

Has the nominee contributed to adjusting or improving any other traditional practices within the construction sector to incorporate more inclusive approaches?

In addition to having a very diverse participant demographic we also have a very diverse staff. 60% of are staff are BIPOC, ~50% are female, as well as having strong representation from the LGBTQ and new-comer communities. In 2021 we also hired a Diversity Equity and Inclusion Consultant to audit our organization and make recommendations. The most important of which was to create a DEI committee, which we did immediately. The committee now meets every 2 weeks, has 1-2 members from every division (case management, social enterprise, operations and program) and has already accomplished quite a bit, including reviewing our policies for participants and auditing the board of directors. They are currently in the process of reviewing our employee policies, to which we are looking forward to their recommendations.

Has the nominee contributed to adjusting or improving on any other traditional practices within the construction sector to incorporate more inclusive approaches?

Our participant employee recruitment has always been targeted to attract individuals from diverse communities, in the past few years however we have made several adjustments to our staff hiring practices such as: 1- We make sure our postings are sent out to a wide network of organizations and partners that help us target reaching a more diverse applicant pool, including sending our postings to all of our alumni. As a result, we have hired 7 of our alumni to Building Up staff in the past few years into both office and site supervisor roles. 2 - We removed all unnecessary barriers to hiring such as requiring degrees, to make our positions more accessible. 3 - We have a standardized and transparent interview process that has been co-created with the DEI committee to ensure all applicants are given equal opportunity.

As mentioned above: 60% of our staff is BIPOC, 50% are female, and we have strong representation from the LGBTQ and new comer communities.

Provide any additional information that explains why this nominee should be considered for the Community Benefits Champion Award.

Yes, we are constantly working on this and evaluating how we are doing. For new participant employees, we have always had a very thorough orientation process. For new staff we have a 1 week orientation where they get to meet every team at the organization. In these meetings they are given a warm welcome and an explanation of everyone’s role. The goal of this is to not only support the new staff in knowing who does what, and who to go to with what questions, but more importantly to help build camaraderie and community.

Increase Hiring: Given the population we serve is incredibly diverse from a wide variety of backgrounds, hiring racialized workers, women, youth and newcomers is incredibly important. We keep track of our percentages (see data above) and as mentioned above, our hiring practices are intentional in recruiting applicants from diverse backgrounds. Apprenticeships: At Building Up we are limited in the number of apprentices we can sponsor. We have 2, both are BIPOC and 1 is female. There is not much need to keep track at this point. That said we do track our placements and have ~180 apprentices of which 90% are BIPOC. Greater Numbers in Leadership: As mentioned above, our DEI committee did an audit of our board. Currently 40% of our Board is BIPOC, this is likely to increase to 60% in the coming year. Our management team is 50% Female, 20% BIPOC.

We have a policy to always look to support social enterprises when there is one, for instance all of our Building Up Uniforms, thousands annually, come from Eva's Phoenix social enterprise print shop. We also make sure for any team event or fundraiser to work with local diverse suppliers, and or social enterprises. We continue to work with our union and employer partners to diversify their workforce as well as continue to work with participants after placement to support them in advancing with their employer. We are also involved in several initiatives to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion standards in the construction trades.

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