Louisville, Kentucky’s OneWest Launches “The Plan Room” to Build Up Racial Minority Business Owners in the Construction Industry

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OneWest, a nonprofit community development organization with a mission to elevate the city of Louisville through commercial development in West Louisville, has announced a new initiative to attract and support minority business owners in the construction industry. “The Plan Room” is a business accelerator specifically designed for Black and brown contractors and construction business owners. The Plan Room provides education, training, mentorship, professional services, and networking opportunities in a dedicated physical space that recently opened in March of 2021.

One of The Plan Room’s first programs is a Business Information Modeling (BIM) training program that will train individuals to use intelligent software to create the 3D construction documents needed to construct modern buildings. Interested candidates can now apply for the 14-week program at theplanroom.org. The first BIM Training program will begin in July of 2021, with prerequisite technology training courses starting in May. The BIM training program, along with all programs of The Plan Room, is available at no cost to participants.

“This is what real community development looks like,” explains OneWest Executive Director Evon Smith. “The launch of The Plan Room earlier this year has been an incredible step forward for racial minority business owners in the construction industry. The addition of the BIM Training Program provides access to practical skills for just about anyone — not just those in the construction industry — to succeed in a new higher-paying career. And this is only the beginning for One West and our incredible partners.”

The Plan Room was built in collaboration with 4 key community partners who are committed to building a better future in the West End — KPFF7PM GroupLouisville Central Community Center (LCCC), and University of Louisville College of Business.

Specifically, KPFF Consulting Engineers office in Louisville has been leading the charge for the BIM training program. “There is a huge need for these professionals in our industry,” says KPFF’s Principal, Greg Buccola, “We can teach a high school graduate how to use the BIM software in far less time than a 2 or 4-year degree program. So why not create our own ecosystem of BIM personnel and help lift up our community with higher paying jobs?”

KPFF is also working with Interapt Foundation (IF), a new non-profit organization formed by software development company Interapt. Interapt Foundation will provide the training program structure for the BIM curriculum.

Also contributing to The Plan Room’s overall curriculum is the University of Louisville College of Business. University of Louisville College of Business Dean Todd Andrew Mooradian says, “The Plan Room initiative is exactly how our College should be involved in West Louisville. We are teaching business – that is our core, distinctive competency – and we’re showing the way to building opportunities and wealth in the community.”

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