1st Annual Construction Diversity Accelerator – Hosted by Turner Construction & CIRAS

An international construction company is partnering with CIRAS to increase the participation of underrepresented contractors on its projects.

Turner Construction, the largest domestic contractor in the U.S., and the CIRAS Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) are offering a free five-week program designed to enhance the ability of Underrepresented Business Enterprises (UBEs) and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) to compete for contracting opportunities. The Construction Diversity Accelerator (CDA) Program will be offered from January 23 through February 20. The class will cover topics ranging from insurance and bonding to bidding, estimating, and procurement. Participation will also provide an opportunity to develop a relationship with Turner, learn how to do business with a large general contractor, and share experiences with other UBEs/DBEs. Classes are in-person only and will meet once a week from 4 to 6 p.m. in West Des Moines.

UBEs/DBEs are generally defined as small businesses that are at least 51% owned by women or minorities. PTAC will use a portion of a recent $152,280 grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation to cover some of its costs for the program.

“Turner has recognized that in order to meet their goals of involving small businesses in their projects they need to invest in the process of helping UBEs and DBEs to become successful subcontractors,” said Jodi Essex, CIRAS government contracting director. “This hands-on course is designed to do just that.”

Turner has offered the course in other parts of the country, but this is the first time it’s being offered in Iowa. It’s open to any construction-oriented UBE/DBE that’s been in business for a year. Seating is limited to 40; only two individuals per company can attend. Classes will be taught by Turner staff and select industry partners.

“Turner will review the applications and select who is admitted to the program,” said Mary Zimmerman, CIRAS DBE support services program manager. “They’ll be looking for companies that can primarily perform work in central Iowa and that can commit to attending at least four out of five weekly sessions.”

Learn more about the CDA Program:

Apply for the CDA Program Here:

Applications are due by December 9. Companies chosen for participation will be notified by the end of December.

For more information contact Mary Zimmerman at maryz@iastate.edu or 515-450-1278.