Urban Workforce Development Initiative

2020 brought both new and longstanding barriers to the surface, and economic progress for minorities is in the forefront. Messer is committed to continuing our investment in career growth and success for minorities in the supplier diversity space as well as in the workforce development and diversity space.

UWDI graduate
UWDI Graduates

Building sustainable careers

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.

The original idea to make these two points happen began with a partnership between Messer, Cincinnati Children’s and Easterseals Serving Greater Cincinnati’s Building Value program. Launched in 2017, the initiative focuses on Uptown neighborhoods in Greater Cincinnati, with the goal to bring 50 residents into full-time careers. UWDI does this through paid training, social support, the promise of a full-time job upon completion and a strong career outlook. The initiative is on track to meet the goal, with 40 people employed as of May 2021 across many different companies, not just Messer.  

Bringing this workforce development model to scale

Our commitment continues with a goal of 45 more jobs in Cincinnati, and we are looking to extend to other regions by having conversations with nonprofit workforce development organizations.

Here’s how the expanded version of UWDI delivers value to partners and participants: 

  • Finding candidates: The program manager serves in the role of recruiting, administration, background checks and drug tests.
  • Training participants: Work hardening provides real-world experience to immediately reinforce foundational skills (like arriving to work on time), construction-specific skills and endurance for a variety of working conditions.
  • Differentiator: Our full-time program manager also serves as a relatable and reliable resource for participants who come from a wide range of backgrounds and have to mitigate barriers such as child care, transportation, housing and health care. 

If you have questions, contact Stanley Warrenhuffman.