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The engineering workforce shortage is a stark reality: 52 percent of ACEC member firms reported having to decline projects due to staffing issues over the past three months. By framing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEI&B) within the context of this statistic, it becomes easier to see why the Committee’s work is so critical to the future of the industry.

Committee members shared a detailed overview of progress towards aligning ACEC member firm policies, expanding internal and external collaborative partnerships, and growth and refinement of resources for leadership development and education.

Every year, the Committee adjusts its goals to reflect changing realities, and the seven goals for 2023-2024 are: aligning legislative policies; collaborating on DEI&B efforts; providing leadership development resources; tracking industry trends; forming partnerships; sharing DEI tools; and connecting with employees of ACEC member firms who identify as members of underrepresented groups.

A key highlight of the session was status updates on the DEI&B Maturity Benchmarking Model. The model is designed to measure ACEC firms’ DEI&B progress through self-reporting and providing detailed, custom recommendations on opportunities for improvement.

At this point, around 200 firms have participated in the model, and while a final report won’t be available until the end of the year, there will be a complementary webinar on October 24th to go over key insights: https://www.acec.org/event/diversity-roadmap-benchmarking-results/

In addition, the meeting discussed uncertainty around affirmative action given the recent Supreme Court decision. A webinar emphasizing the importance of continuing DEI&B work offers guidance on navigating the legal environment for firms continuing to pursue this invaluable work. AEC Unites, which facilitates intentional opportunities for Black talent and Black-owned businesses in architecture, engineering, and the construction industry, is pursuing a new initiative to lower opportunity barriers standing in the way of more diverse engineering workforces at local and state levels.

The Leadership Paths subgroup is developing tools to encourage more involvement in ACEC, while the Forum Development Subgroup is addressing the need for broader DEI&B discussions and change at all organizational levels.

A central wrap up question addressed during the Business Case subgroup: How can we articulate the “why” of DEI&B to member firms in a way that decisively brings home the importance of fostering lasting and meaningful change?

Date

October 17, 2023

Category

ACEC NEWS / FALL CONFERENCE, ACEC NEWS / GOVERNANCE, ACEC NEWS / MEMBER FIRMS, EDUCATION / FALL CONFERENCE

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