Urban Workforce Development Initiative

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

UWDI graduate

Building full-time, sustainable careers

The Urban Workforce Development Initiative (UWDI) delivers value through: 

  • Finding candidates: The program manager serves in the role of recruiting, administration, background checks and drug tests.
  • Building skills: Work hardening provides real-world experience to reinforce professional development, construction-specific skills and life skills.
  • Preparing for career and life change: What makes UWDI unique is providing case management with relatable and reliable resources to help participants mitigate barriers including childcare, transportation, housing, health care, etc. to help them succeed. UWDI graduates step into fulfilling career opportunities and are best prepared for long-term, sustainable success

Messer began this 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 by having conversations with nonprofit workforce development organizations.

UWDI Graduates
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 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 Easterseals Serving Greater Cincinnati/Building Value 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.