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STV and Mentoring: Empowering M/WBEs to Excel in their Communities

Jan 25, 2024
men sitting at table in construction safety outfits

Each January, professionals come together to recognize and reaffirm the importance of National Mentoring Month. During this pivotal time, I’m reminded of the transformative potential of harnessing our collective efforts to support Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs).

As a former leader with the New York City School Construction Authority (NYCSCA) and a longtime advocate for mentorship, I’m proud to be part of the team at STV that shapes the future of so many MWBEs through NYCSCA’s mentor program.

For over a decade, STV has been providing CM and mentor services for construction projects awarded through this four-year program, which has certified hundreds of contractors via classroom training, financial resource access, and hands-on experience.

Classroom training encompasses safety protocols, permitting, subcontractors’ coordination, submittals, field management, and bookkeeping required to help develop contractor skillsets and knowledge of the construction field – everything needed to do work in the public sector. STV also provides evaluations to NYCSCA upon each project’s completion to provide additional, individualized training as needed.

In the field, our CM team is partnering with over 100 M/WBE contractors in the program to manage more than 300 active projects in various stages of construction. Participating contractors take part in ADA compliance projects, electric upgrades for school systems, security systems/cameras, playground development, interior upgrades, exterior masonry and other construction projects.

This program’s industry benefits are twofold. In the past, firms pursuing major projects have struggled with meeting M/WBE requirements due to a lack of qualified contractors. STV, under our contracts with the NYCSCA, provides classroom training and/or hands-on training that allows M/WBE contractors to grow their experience and qualifications, which can then be leveraged for future pursuits while building their capacity to deploy these new skills in the open market.

people talking in vests and hard hats outside

Additionally, for our M/WBE partners, the NYCSCA program can address many of the challenges they face in trying to grow their businesses:

  • Lack of Start-Up Funds/Cash Flow. To level the playing field for smaller businesses, The NYCSCA helps facilitate arrangements with financial institutions to provide start-up loans, for which STV acts as management and oversees the repayments of the loan. When it comes to managing cash flow, many of these smaller companies cannot wait the standard amount of time to receive payment. Working with the NYCSCA, we’re able to expedite the payments through an escrow account.
  • Opportunities. Since emerging MWBEs don’t always have a background in how the public works process operates, this program provides the opportunity to train and mentor them to grow and work independently on future projects.
  • Outmatched Competition Larger Firms. Once certified through the NYCSCA program, MWBEs can bid against their peers instead of large-scale contractors.

It’s incredibly rewarding working with colleagues who play such a fundamental role in creating opportunities for historically underprivileged individuals in our society. Through programs like the NYCSCA’s, the training provides M/WBEs with generational change that will benefit them, their families, and New York City as a whole for many years to come.

people sitting around table in safety vests

Following the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the U.S. Department of HUD announced the availability of $5 million in technical assistance funds to further invest in disadvantaged communities.

This provides us with the opportunity to transfer the training we’ve implemented across other New York City public works: from recreational projects, health & safety programs, infrastructure, and transportation. That opportunity means a lot to me as a professional and a New Yorker.