Urban Workforce Development Initiative

Messer is committed to investing in the career growth and success of minorities and women through workforce development and diversity.

UWDI participant

Building full-time, sustainable careers

The Urban Workforce Development Initiative (UWDI began as an initiative in Cincinnati through the Cincinnati Children's Critical Care Building project. Now, we are expanding throughout the city and looking to extend to other regions including conversations with nonprofit workforce development organizations.


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.

Providing case management to help participants mitigate barriers like transportation, childcare, housing, health care, etc. so they are best prepared for long-term, sustainable career success.

In December 2022, 19 individuals entered sustainable careers.

Over 150 lives impacted by UWDI through December 2022.

Learn more

UWDI Graduates

A catalyst for change

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 (UWDI) 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.