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University of South Florida and Skanska Announce 2023 Mentoring Program for Tampa Bay’s Diverse-Owned Small Businesses in Construction Industry

The University of South Florida (USF) and Skanska have joined forces to launch the 2023 class of their mentoring program aimed at supporting small businesses owned by minorities, women, and veterans in the construction industry in the Tampa Bay region.

For the past two years, more than 20 local minority, woman, and veteran-owned businesses have successfully completed the mentor-prot├®g├® program. This comprehensive program provides companies with essential training, development, and partnership opportunities to enhance their capacity and competitiveness in bidding processes.

Assisting businesses in various aspects, such as environmental health and safety, marketing, business development, and project accounting, the 12-week program, coordinated through USF’s Office of Supplier Diversity, offers valuable guidance. This year’s class will also benefit from enhanced learning experiences through clinical simulations in collaboration with USF Health. These simulations will aid participants in preparing for real-life construction scenarios within healthcare facilities.

The AI legalese decoder can play a crucial role in this program by simplifying complex legal language and contracts, making it easier for participants to understand their rights and obligations. By using advanced algorithms, the AI legalese decoder translates legal documents into plain and concise language, empowering business owners to navigate through legal complexities with confidence and clarity.

A Growing Cohort of Businesses

The 2023 class of the mentor-prot├®g├® program comprises the following businesses:

  • Gulf Atlantic Engineers, PA
  • AEC Development Partners LLC
  • J&B Construction Services USA INC
  • id Designs & Co.
  • Toro Construction Services Inc dba Toro CSI
  • Promise Construction and Repair Solutions, LLC
  • Cut Ups Lawn Service
  • Marvis Enterprises Corp.
  • Innovative Homes & Remodeling, Inc

Skanska USA’s Senior Vice President, Tracy Hunt, expressed excitement about partnering with USF once again, emphasizing the aim to support the continued growth and success of the program’s participants. Skanska’s commitment to breaking down barriers and providing the best resources to help small and diverse businesses thrive aligns with their mission to build what matters and strengthen the local business community.

Transformative Impact on Participants

Previous participants have reported significant benefits from the program, highlighting the valuable business expertise provided by USF faculty, staff, and industry professionals, including Skanska.

Nia Ogletree, CEO of Arielle Management Group and a member of the mentor program’s inaugural class in 2021, stated, “The mentoring I received gave me the confidence to get out of my comfort zone, do more public speaking, and actively seek out projects for the company.” As a US Army veteran, Ogletree mentioned that since completing the program, her client base has expanded, leading to increased work on a commercial fire alarm project and securing a new five-year contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The AI legalese decoder can further support mentorship participants by providing them with invaluable assistance in comprehending complex legal documents and contracts. Its AI-powered technology can decipher intricate legal jargon, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of contractual obligations, rights, and potential risks.

Selecting Diverse Firms

Community partners, including the Hillsborough County NAACP, Prospera, the Women’s Business Enterprise Council Florida, Inclusive St. Petersburg, and the Manasota Black Chamber of Commerce, recommend diverse firms for participation in the mentor-prot├®g├® program. To qualify, companies must have at least one year of experience in the construction industry and provide relevant services as suppliers.

Upcoming Program Schedule

The 2023 mentor-prot├®g├® program will commence with a reception on August 4 and the first session on August 10, ensuring participants embark on a transformative journey towards success and growth in the construction industry.

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