MSD News and Alerts
The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) issued to the public its first Annual Diversity Report detailing its minority and women participation for Fiscal Year 2018. The report is the first time MSD has captured in one comprehensive document the continuous progress it has made in diversity participation since it completed the disparity study in 2012. The Annual Diversity Report is available here.
As demonstrated in the report, MSD is committed to implementing and tracking initiatives that ensure its project spending reflects the diversity of the St. Louis community. MSD’s diversity goals help to guarantee that the range of investments it makes in the St. Louis region benefit everyone in the community.
In Fiscal Year 2018 (July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018), MSD awarded $85 million of its $248 million Capital Improvement and Replacement Program (CIRP) outlay to minority- and women-owned businesses (M/WBE), a commitment of more than 34 percent of its CIRP expenditures.
MSD has also seen a continual rise in its utilization of minority and female workers on contracted projects. In Fiscal Year 2018, MSD hired contract workers to complete more than 2 million hours of work. Of those hours, 609,511 (29.6 percent) were completed by minority contract workers and 112,116 (7 percent) were completed by women contract workers.
“MSD’s deep-rooted and authentic commitment to diversity is the foundation for all that we do,” said Brian Hoelscher, Executive Director and CEO. “It is exhibited within the culture of MSD as well as the wastewater and stormwater work we provide to approximately 1.3 million customers. Diversity allows MSD to be more cost-effective and comprehensive by bringing to light ideas and solutions from many perspectives.”
Based on the recommendations identified in the disparity study, MSD has introduced an array of programs and strategies to create opportunities for minority and women participation. These programs include:
- The Small Contractor Program, which offers M/WBEs an opportunity to gain experience in the sewer construction industry and has led to a strong pipeline of experienced contractors for MSD’s larger Capital Improvement and Replacement Program work.
Building Union Diversity (BUD), a pre-apprenticeship program that introduces minorities, women, and St. Louis residents to construction trades, helping contractors gain access to a growing workforce of qualified minority and women workers. Since its inception, BUD has graduated more than 100 workers.
Minority scholarships in partnership with Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIUE), which sponsor local minority and women interested in careers in the water treatment industry to attend SIUE’s Environmental Resource Training Center.
A high school internship program in partnership with the St. Louis Internship Program that introduces diverse high school students from St. Louis City and County Public Schools to MSD’s work through tours and paid internships at MSD facilities.
A Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) between MSD and community organizations, which establishes a framework for addressing issues in diverse workforce participation, business development, and other obstacles to developing a diverse labor pool and contracting community.
On-The-Job Tunnel Training which introduces candidates to hands-on, expert-level construction training, helping to develop a diverse workforce for MSD’s tunneling projects and educating a new generation of laborers for a variety of career opportunities.
Building on its existing decades-long diversity program, MSD publicized the results of its first disparity study in 2013. As it is a best practice, MSD publicly committed to update the findings of the 2012 disparity study in five years. To fulfill that promise, MSD tentatively plans to begin this process by the end of the calendar year. The updated findings will measure the diversity program’s success in eliminating gaps in minority and women participation and provide a roadmap to guide the continued pursuit of authentic diversity and inclusion.
In addition to the results of MSD’s diversity program, the Annual Diversity Report also includes several stories highlighting the staff and program participants who make up the diversity initiative.