Urban Workforce Development Initiative

UWDI is building full-time, sustainable careers

Messer is committed to investing in the career growth and success of minorities and women through workforce development and diversity through the Urban Workforce Development Initiative (UWDI). It began as an initiative in Cincinnati through the Cincinnati Children's Critical Care Building project. Now, it has expanded throughout the city and to other regions.


The program manager serves in the role of recruiting, administration, background checks and drug tests.

Work hardening provides real-world experience to reinforce professional development, construction-specific skills and life skills.

Case management helps participants mitigate barriers like transportation, childcare, housing,  etc. so they are best prepared for long-term, sustainable success.

Working with community partners and subcontractors to help individuals enter sustainable careers.

Over 150 lives impacted by UWDI.

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Messer's Urban Workforce Development Initiative workforce development program
Economic Inclusion Manager Stanley W. provides an overview of UWDI's past, present and impact on individuals lives.

A catalyst for change through UWDI

The focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, and the removal of systemic barriers, is of utmost importance. Meeting people where they are to build a pipeline of candidates requires bringing together partners focused on the same target: to get and keep individuals in sustainable careers.

Originally, Messer and Easterseals Redwood (formerly Easterseals Serving Greater Cincinnati) partnered on a careers collaborative that began in 1994. By 2017, this had evolved into a new approach bringing together Messer, Cincinnati Children’s and Building Value (a program of Easterseals Redwood) to launch the Uptown Workforce Development Initiative (which has since been renamed Urban Workforce Development Initiative) on a group of neighborhoods in Greater Cincinnati.

The goal was to bring 50 residents (from neighborhoods surrounding Cincinnati Children’s new Critical Care Building) into full-time, sustainable careers through paid training, social support, the promise of a full-time job upon completion and a strong career outlook. We met the goal, with 50 people employed across Messer and 16 different subcontractors.

"....since then, it's given me a total lifestyle change and given me direction in my life."

Louisville resident Houston B. shares his experience and growth with UWDI. He shares how hardwork and dedication helped give him a second chance and become a first-year plumbing apprentice.

UWDI helps individuals find their career path. "I needed to move toward another career. I always wanted to do construction, I just didn't know how."

A graduate's perspective on how the Urban Workforce Development Initiative (UWDI) helped create a path for a sustainable career. This and so much more insight is available in the Health Facilities Magazine article. It describes the transformational care and impact on the community including perspectives from a client, subcontractor, other UWDI graduates, and an UWDI manager.