BLocal offers free classes for minority-, women-owned businesses in Baltimore

13-session BUILD College training program begins June 8

To bolster small construction businesses in Baltimore, the companies of BLocal have developed a series of free classes for local minority- and women-owned firms.

A group of 25 Baltimore-area businesses in April announced the BLocal initiative, an effort to harness their collective influence to create economic opportunities in Baltimore.

BLocal's BUILD College is a 13-session program for firms in the design and construction industry. It's a way for participating businesses to not only learn tools of the trade and ways to grow their companies, but also to gain opportunities to network and develop contacts with peers, industry experts, and BLocal partners, which include some of the largest organizations in the city.

The BLocal partners have pledged to spend more on design and construction contracts with local and minority- and women-owned businesses; to hire residents from the city's most distressed communities; and to buy more from local vendors and women- and minority-owned businesses. By offering BUILD College, the BLocal partners want to help these small companies grow and navigate the process of working with larger organizations such as Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins Health System, as well as other BLocal partners.

The program starts June 8 with sessions on consecutive Wednesdays through Sept. 14. Enrollment is now open for companies that have been in business in Baltimore City for at least two years and have a minimum revenue of $250,000.

BLocal BUILD College will offer two tracks, one for design consultants and the other for construction trades and general contractors.

Sessions will focus on topics including how to read architectural drawings; bidding and legal/contracting considerations; project management; financial management/banking; human resources; bonding/surety; insurance; and safety/quality management.

Instructors will include experienced professionals from some of Baltimore's leading companies in the field, including:

  • 1st Mariner Bank
  • BCT Architects
  • Beatty Development
  • Design Collective
  • Forrester Construction
  • Mahogany Contracting
  • Ober|Kaler
  • ResultsCFO
  • RCM&D
  • Turner Construction Co.
  • The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.

Those who are interested can apply online now for BLocal BUILD College. Applications will be reviewed by the BLocal partners and offers of admission will be sent no later than June 1.