About the Neilson Building Project
Smith College is committed to fair labor practices and has a long history of successful construction projects on campus utilizing a diverse mix of contractors. Such projects include the Schacht Center, Ford Hall, Campus Center, the Friedman Apartments and the renovation of Cutter and Ziskind houses.
The college also seeks to improve participation of women/minority workforce labor and business enterprises in the Neilson Library construction project. As a selective college dedicated to women’s education, and with the nationally significant undertaking of Neilson Library scheduled for bid in 2018, Smith is in a position to have a positive effect in creating opportunities for women and minorities in the construction industry.
For the Neilson Library project, Smith will establish goals for women/minority workforce labor and business enterprises. “Workforce” refers to the actual labor force on the project, i.e., the identity, whether minority or woman, of individual workers. MBE refers to Minority-owned Business Enterprise, and WBE refers to Woman-owned Business Enterprise.
The targeted goals for participation will be 7% women workforce, 16% minority workforce, and 12% MBE/WBE combined. These goals are informed by approaches taken by other similar projects and are anticipated to be aggressive yet achievable. A review committee will be formed to allow for transparent discussions on the successes and challenges related to achieving these goals.
A key partner in the implementation of this effort will be Shawmut Design and Construction, which is serving as the construction manager for the Neilson project. Shawmut is signatory to the local carpenters and laborers union, which means that all general labor and carpentry work on Neilson will be performed by union workers. The Springfield local 108 carpenters and laborers union has been particularly focused on improving representation of women in the workforce; this emphasis will carry into the Neilson project through their connection with Shawmut.
The Neilson project will provide a critical opportunity to further understand the labor market for Western Massachusetts and to generate knowledge that will come from the successes and challenges in meeting the targets for Neilson. After implementation of these goals for an extended period, so as to capture many different subcontractor trades, Smith will evaluate the success of these goals for their intended purpose and will consider a wider application.
Smith College Facilities Management