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The Turner-UK Construction Diversity Accelerator (CDA) Program, in collaboration with the Kentucky APEX Accelerator, is proud to announce the successful graduation of its second cohort.

With the University of Kentucky and various community partners set to embark on an unprecedented number of construction projects over the next five years, the CDA program has been instrumental in preparing businesses to seize these opportunities and contribute to the growth of the construction industry.

Launched in March 2022, the 10-week CDA program has been specifically designed to equip diverse contractors in construction-related businesses with the necessary skills to compete in the industry. The comprehensive curriculum encompasses vital topics such as safety protocols, site logistics, insurance and bonding, contracts, subcontracting, construction drawings and specifications, estimating, scheduling, bid and proposal preparation, construction accounting, certification processes, and much more.

"The CDA is an important part of UK’s overall supplier diversity and DEI strategy," Barry Swanson, UK's Chief Procurement Officer, said. "Identifying qualified businesses, providing education and resources, and connecting them with meaningful business opportunities is what our supplier diversity program is designed to achieve."

Community sponsors for this cohort included: Blue Grass Airport, Commerce Lexington, Fayette County Public Schools, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Lynn Imaging, Messer Construction, Small Business Administration, UK Economic Development Collaborative, UK Purchasing and Supplier Diversity. The program was hosted in the Cornerstone ESports Theatre. 

One new aspect of the program was the introduction of mentors. The mentors were assigned to each of the four teams, and every team had a mentor at every session.  Mentors assisted participants with understanding the class content and exercise and guided their teamwork on the mock bid project. "We are so grateful for their dedication to this process," Supplier Diversity Manager, Marilyn Clark, said. "It was so wonderful to see how genuinely engaged they were with the cohort."

By successfully completing the CDA program, the second cohort of graduates are now better equipped to seize the upcoming opportunities and contribute to the growth and success of construction projects at the University of Kentucky and beyond.

The CDA program's impact extends beyond the immediate benefits for the participants. By fostering a more diverse and inclusive construction industry, the program aims to create a stronger community where opportunities are accessible to individuals from all backgrounds. By supporting underrepresented businesses and helping them thrive, the CDA program contributes to the overall economic growth and prosperity of the region.

"Watching the camaraderie of the cohort at the end of the 10 weeks is very gratifying," Clark said. "When the teams make their mock bid presentations they demonstrate their grasp of the class material and their knowledge of bidding, this is the proof this work is worthwhile.  Based on their presentations we know they are going to be more competitive in the construction industry." 

As the Turner-UK Construction Diversity Accelerator (CDA) Program celebrates the successful graduation of its second cohort, it reaffirms its commitment to advancing diversity and excellence in the construction industry. Through collaborative efforts with the University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Procurement Technical Assistance Center, the CDA program continues to empower diverse contractors, preparing them for success in an evolving and vibrant construction landscape. With the skills, knowledge, and support gained through this transformative program, graduates are poised to make a lasting impact on the construction projects that lie ahead.


To apply for the 2024 CDA cohort, click here: