In our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, Facilities Management participates in multiple programs centered on diversifying teams and projects, further strengthening our collective impact. Initiatives include:
Apprentice Operating Engineer Program
In collaboration with the Hill District Community Development Corporation’s Development Review Panel and the Hill District Community Engagement Center (CEC), Facilities Management developed and launched the Operating Engineer Apprenticeship Program in 2021.
The program is designed to train, develop the skills to become a building maintenance mechanic, providing a pathway for future job opportunities and growth.
The apprenticeship model combines on-the-job training with related classroom-based instruction, while earning a salary and University benefits outlined in the Collective Bargain Agreement between the University and Union. As an apprentice, candidates will receive forty-eight months or 8,320 hours of on-the-job training which covers all aspects of the duties of a stationary engineer.
Operating engineer apprentices are required to attend and successfully complete a minimum of eight core classes, one every six months, each lasting 16 weeks. At the successful completion of the apprenticeship program, candidates will be eligible to work as an operating engineer, furthering their career.
Operating engineers are responsible for safe operation and maintenance of a wide range of equipment related to the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment. This equipment may include air-handlers, boilers, chillers, and associated building automation controls, a vital part of Facilities Management’s core functions.
The Mentor-Protégé Program at Pitt provides incentives for contractors who are committed to developing additional minority-owned construction firms in the area.
To participate in the program, both mentor and protégé teams are required to commit to a robust construction management training program which may include training sessions, networking and on-the-job development opportunities.
10 Mentor-Protégé teams are in place, building strong and engaged relationships between mentors and proteges, strengthening diversity in construction and providing additional, valuable construction resource options in the Pittsburgh area.
To increase Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and Women Business Enterprise (WBE) participation in construction projects and facilities services contracts, encompassing both professional and construction areas, Facilities Management continues to promote the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion with all contractors and highlight job-site opportunities.
One example is the Chilled Water Project, where the University has 39% MBE/WBE participation. This means that local minority firms will receive 39% of the project’s construction budget in the next 18 months. Additionally on this project, the team projects a 10% on-site minority labor participation rate, creating additional jobs.
The team is tracking the diversity of the University’s contractor workforce through a Diversity in Construction dashboard, measuring and quantifying progress.
Facilities Management continues to engage with communities and become an active leader in addressing underrepresentation. As examples, the team is working with the First Source Center in Hill District and Hill District CEC, partnering on Chilled Water Project.
The team is also working with UPMC and Turner Construction to host a 3-month Construction Management Training course that focuses on networking with local established contractors for partnering opportunities. This outreach and networking effort is coupled with learning opportunities, designed to strengthen community relationships and provide additional growth opportunities.
Our goal is to double MBE participation rates by next year. To achieve this, Facilities Management continues to connect with community members and local organizations to source minority contractors that are interested in doing business with Pitt.