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Stevens an innovator in inclusive recruiting, training efforts

By: Alex Zank//November 15, 2017//

Stevens an innovator in inclusive recruiting, training efforts

By: Alex Zank//November 15, 2017//

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Stevens Construction (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)
Stevens Construction (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

Working in an industry where there is a perpetual shortage of skilled workers, Stevens Construction understands the importance of a diverse workforce.

That’s why the construction company aims not only to bring in new workers from all walks of life, but also to ensure they feel like they’re part of a family, regardless of racial, gender or generational differences.

With a workforce comprised of more than 20 percent minorities, Stevens participates in a number of recruitment and training initiatives. For instance, its youth-apprenticeship program brings in 16- and 17-year-old high school students to work alongside employees who are entrenched in their careers.

The contractor also partners with the Latino Academy of Workforce Development to run a bilingual construction program. The program aims to recruit Hispanic and Latino workers who are looking for better career options, said Dena Gullickson, human resources manager with Stevens.

“A lot of them have actually quit their full-time jobs to come work with us,” she said.

In the last two years, the program has brought on and trained more than 30 people, many of whom were previously employed at restaurants or hotels.

The inclusive efforts don’t end at the recruitment stage. Stevens also over the last couple of years has aimed to educate workers on how their differences are actually a benefit to themselves and the company. This is done through diversity training and generational-differences training programs.

Mark Rudnicki, president and chief executive officer of the Madison-based company, said the training sessions do more than what is simply legally required of the company. Rather, these programs add a personal touch, he said, by bringing in speakers who can share their real-life experiences that workers can relate to.

“It’s really important to me, personally, that everyone understands how important they are,” Rudnicki said. This sentiment extends to both office employees and skilled workers in the field.

This is one of a number of reasons why the company puts on annual events like family days and golf outings, where employees have a chance to come together for a day of camaraderie and relaxation.

“(Construction) is such a teamwork-oriented industry,” said Rudnicki. “Everyone’s got to work together, and that feeling that everyone is important and everyone cares, it flows into everything else.”

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