Nicole Richer started her company, The Compliance Mentor Group (TCMG), in 2012 in order to increase racial and gender diversity in the construction industry. She was first inspired to go into this work while still in high school after noticing the lack of female and minority mentors in the sciences and especially in construction and the building trade. Today, Richer heads a Certified Minority/Woman-Owned Business Enterprise that boasts of one of the most progressive workforce development mentoring programs in the industry.
TCMG is an Affiliate Member of MMP’s mentoring network and has had a relationship with MMP since 2012, when they sought MMP’s expertise and technical stewardship in launching their youth workforce development programs. The partnership continues to grow each year as TCMG strives to offer more community youth authentic career development skills and mentoring experiences within the Architectural Engineer and Construction (AEC) industry. According to Richer, “MMP’s annual technical training offerings have not only been impactful in serving youth in our programming, but they are a favorite amongst our volunteer mentors too.”
TCMG helps companies meet their compliance guidelines, offering a robust mentoring program for young people. TCMG recruits students, particularly women and youth of color, year-round at area vocational and comprehensive schools and community programs. The youth are offered a full-year program that starts with a trip to a construction site, where participants learn how to act, how to dress, and what the rules and responsibilities of the worksite are. In the next phase, they are paired with mentors who align with their vocational interest and job shadow them, while seeking advice and sharing valuable experiences.
Each cohort has approximately 40 students at the start; some realize pretty quickly that the demands of the work exceeded their expectations, and they drop out. Richer estimates though that far more of the 300+ alumni of the program have gone on to work in the building trade or for a construction company. Richer is proud of the program that promotes career exploration, job readiness, and professional networking, particularly for minority groups who historically have been underrepresented in this industry.
In addition, Richer works with MMP to offer construction sites technical training in topics such as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Culturally Responsive Practices in order to create a more diverse and supportive environment for all employees.