As part of the announcement of the issuance of the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the MBI WORKS Endowment, a press conference was held with Governor Kim Reynolds and Lt. Governor Adam Gregg in which they provided comments on how the Endowment is a perfect example of the type of public-private partnership they seek to attract through the state’s Future Ready Iowa Initiative. Statements like this embody exactly what the MBI Board of Directors was trying to accomplish when directing these funds to the endowment. Bringing together MBI members with other entities to partner in their efforts to create new and innovative opportunities to address workforce issues, and recruit new people into the industry, is exactly the type of program the industry needs.
As noted during the press conference, there is no silver bullet that can solve all of our workforce needs. Instead, collective efforts between MBI members, non-profits and governmental entities will lead to an array of ideas and approaches that will hopefully bring more people into our industry for today, tomorrow and years to come.
The Endowment is a unique approach for MBI. Historically, our efforts have focused on MBI-led initiatives that are more advocacy and exposure-based, while also providing members with the tools to complement their respective recruitment strategies. The creation of BuildIowa.org, MBI’s workforce website, is a perfect example of the resources MBI offers members. With the approach in creating an Endowment, the MBI Board of Directors wisely determined that this is an opportunity to enlist others to help with MBI’s workforce efforts. Moreover, the Endowment is structured in such a manner that it plays directly into how contractors operate.
For instance, contractors are asked to respond to RFPs – something very common in the industry. Next, the grant process will be competitive – in the construction business, competitiveness is a survival instinct. The RFP also asks for MBI members to form partnerships and collaborate, something that is essential in the construction and procurement process. Finally, the Endowment is looking for proposals that efficiently use the funds available. Again, totally in a contractor’s wheelhouse.
The Endowment signifies a commitment to workforce issues that will go into perpetuity, which is very rare in this industry as we often follow the ebbs and flows of the market in dedicating resources to workforce. However, our intentions with the Endowment are to provide a means by which workforce development and construction career exposure will always have an active tool to maintain a focus on bringing people to the industry.
If you are interested in taking a closer look at the Endowment and ways in which you and your firm can potentially participate, check out the MBI website for more details.