MAY 2021 NEI in conjunction with local community partners, has been working diligently over the last year to launch the Workforce Opportunity Resource Center (WORC2 or WORC Lab). Designed to engage local community-based businesses and workers in the construction industry, particularly those underrepresented in the market, WORC2 will offer “one-stop shopping” resources and technical support to promote worker development, business capacity building, and growth in the local construction community. Through education and information sharing, WORC2 will also endeavor to remove the systemic barriers workers face when trying to access the industry. The permanent home for WORC2 will be located at the Bartlett Place development, 2505 Washington Street in Roxbury, Massachusetts when it opens in Fall 2022.
Until then, a temporary space will open at 2103 Washington Street in Roxbury, Massachusetts in July. As part of the construction of the space, NEI partnered with the Madison Park Technical Vocational School to provide opportunities for students to use their training in a real-world setting. All the materials and equipment required were provided by NEI. The only technical vocational high school located within the City of Boston, Madison Park is a part of the Boston Public Schools and offers a comprehensive academic program and training in 18 technical vocational programs.
The WORC Lab will be home to an extensive curriculum of professional and industry-specific training sessions, seminars, webinars, and mentorships. Offering a variety of learning opportunities for subcontractors and workers as well as structured business development paths, courses will focus on developing and expanding the project management, back office, and accounting capabilities of contractors. All information will be presented in multiple languages to better engage the local community.
André Barbour, NEI’s Diversity and Inclusion Director, will oversee WORC2 and be the liaison with Madison Park students and instructors. André has a solid foundation in community engagement and workforce development through his experience working in various neighborhoods in Boston. With 12 years of experience, André’s efforts allow NEI to participate more fully in the community and economic development interests of the company’s clients and the communities where it does business. He serves on the Program Advisory Committee for Facilities Maintenance at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School.
“WORC2 will offer a range of courses, including accounting, risk management, and estimating, all essential skills for contractors,” said Josef Rettman, President of NEI. “The key is to provide flexibility in the delivery of this information to fit into workers’ schedules. Some classes will be offered quarterly and others on a monthly basis. The NEI staff has been hard at work developing the curriculum and we all appreciate the opportunity to give back to our community.”