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Skanska Training Program at University of Pittsburgh Empowers Region's Minority and Women-Owned Businesses

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Skanska USA, a member of multiple AGC chapters, celebrated the completion of the 2016 Pittsburgh Construction Management Building Blocks (CMBB) program at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt). Offered in partnership with Pitt, the free, seven-week program was designed to give minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBE) the tools and knowledge needed to expand their operations and secure larger contracts. 
Now in its ninth year, the CMBB program is initiated and organized by Skanska USA and taught by Skanska, its academic partners and other regional construction leaders in areas of need across the US. This most recent class included courses on contracting requirements and opportunities with Pitt, along with generally applicable courses on estimating and bidding, bonding and insurance, accounting, project management, and safety and other business management topics. 
"Skanska is committed to creating jobs and sharing best practices in the communities we work in," said Skanska USA general manager Ed Szwarc. "By partnering with Pitt, we offer traditional underrepresented businesses the opportunity to expand their businesses, gain valuable operational skills and take their careers to the next level." 
Upon completion of the program, participants are better prepared for contracting opportunities in the region. Graduates also emerged better connected, through networking opportunities provided by the program’s many industry sponsors. 
"The Construction Management Building Blocks Program shows just how much Pitt cares about being a good neighbor to the City of Pittsburgh as well as how much we want to reach out to Pittsburgh’s citizens and make a real and lasting difference in the lives of people," said Scott Bernotas, Pitt’s associate vice chancellor of facilities management.
CMBB was launched more than eight years ago by Skanska’s Global Diversity Council and has held sessions in partnership with Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania State University, Rutgers New Jersey, and throughout New York City. This is the first session completed in Pittsburgh.
CMBB provides a platform for contractors to interact with industry professionals and city and state leaders to receive information and training on how to bid on contracts. In addition, it provides an opportunity for subcontractors to develop relationships with not only the industry professionals who participate but also with one another, forming bonds and strategic partnerships that potentially have these firms pursuing larger packages.
The CMBB curriculum typically includes business development, project management, construction planning and cost estimating, and how to implement best practice construction methods and procedures. These valuable skills, in addition to the no-cost and no-obligation nature of the training, has resulted in an intense demand for CMBB trainings. 
Skanska’s building experience in the Philadelphia/New Jersey/Delaware region includes such projects as the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion Addition at the Franklin Institute, University of Delaware East Campus Residence Hall, SugarHouse Casino, Inspira Healthcare Network, Christiana Care Health Systems Women and Children’s Health Building, American Airlines Terminal F expansion and baggage claim at Philadelphia International Airport, and the Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children.

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Associated General Contractors of America
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