Written by Amanda Maher
In Boston and elsewhere, construction activity has experienced an uptick recently. It seems like everywhere you turn, cranes dot the skyline. Yet it’s not just the residential and commercial real estate markets that are booming. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, for instance, has more than $750 million worth of vertical construction contracts in the pipeline.
Yet tapping into this market can be difficult. Smaller firms often lack the capacity to compete for these contracts. Fortunately, the state’s Office of Access and Opportunity (OAO) recognizes this. As a result, they have launched a “Capacity and Contracts” program, a workshop series that teaches CEOs the various ways to position their construction-related companies for bidding success. Companies run the gamut, from general contractors to architects and design firms.
To train these firms, OAO has teamed up with the Boston-based Next Street. Next Street provides traditional technical assistance to small businesses around ways to grow and scale businesses, from financial management to organizational assessment. Yet importantly, companies also learn the nuances of public contracting, such as how to obtain certifications.
The five-day workshop series gives construction companies time to refine their business plans, and then CEOs have an opportunity to pitch in real time to prime contractors and state procurement officials.
Growing the local construction industry is especially important to inner city communities. Construction, housing, and real estate (a.k.a. “CHRE”) jobs are typically a good match with inner city residents’ skills. Forty-percent of CHRE jobs provide short-term, on-the-job training; 82% of all CHRE jobs require an associate’s degree or less. Moreover, CHRE jobs typically pay higher than the median income, even in inner city geographies.
As more companies and their people relocate to the urban core, CHRE provides a significant opportunity for inner city job growth. Inner City 100 winners like DMC Consultants (Detroit), PMG Project Management (Houston) and Gonzalez Companies (St. Louis) are among the construction-related companies paving the way in their respective cities.
One of the first steps in achieving such growth is to help inner city construction firms access new contracts. Just last month, OAO completed its sixth round of Capacity & Contracts training with Tier 1 companies, or those with less than $2.5 million in revenue. Participants routinely cite dramatic increases in the number of public and private bids they submit after completing the program, leading to additional revenue and new growth trajectories.
Given the early success of the program, the Commonwealth will launch a combined Tier 1 and Tier II cohort early next year. Now, construction-related companies with revenue up to $10 million can apply. If you’re a Massachusetts-based company fitting this category, why not set a New Year’s Resolution to land a new state contract? Learn more and apply today!