The University of South Florida (USF) and Skanska, a multinational construction and development company, today announced they are partnering to introduce a new mentorship program that aims to assist small and diverse businesses in the Tampa Bay region. Facilitated through USF’s Office of Supplier Diversity, the Construction Management Building Blocks (CMBB) mentor-protégé program will provide subcontractors with training, development and partnership opportunities to help the companies grow and become more successful with competitive bidding processes.
“We are so pleased to join with Skanska to provide this new program, which is incredibly important to the University of South Florida,” said Terrie Daniel, USF Office of Supplier Diversity assistant vice president. “I think it will increase opportunities for participating firms and have a significant impact on those businesses and on the economics of our entire business community.”
Leveraging business expertise from USF faculty and staff, along with Skanska and other industry professionals, participants will take part in an eight-week program that provides guidance on a variety of subjects, such as environmental health and safety, field management, as well as marketing and business development. Companies will learn, at no cost to them, how to become more successful on USF/Skanska Tampa Bay-based projects and within the construction industry in general.
Diverse firms will be selected for the CMBB program based on recommendations from community partners, which include the Hillsborough County NAACP, The St. Petersburg Collective and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. In order to qualify, companies must be in the construction industry and in business for at least one year.
“This initiative not only continues our ongoing work and partnership with USF, but also lives up to our purpose, ‘Building for a Better Society,’” said Tracy Hunt, senior vice president for Skanska’s greater Tampa Bay area operations. “The Construction Management Building Blocks mentor-protégé program will prepare these subcontractors with fundamental skills to operate successful companies and seek opportunities in Tampa’s growing construction industry.”
The program’s first cohort kicks off in late August. Upon completion, participants will receive a construction mentor from Skanska and a graduate student mentor from USF’s Muma College of Business (COB) for up to six months to assist in streamlining administrative responsibilities. Participants will also be provided scholarships for a financial management program led by the Muma COB Small Business Development Center.