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Obama Foundation Issues Request for Diversity Consultant for the Obama Presidential Center

September 29, 2017 at 9:31 AM CDT

Diversity consultant will monitor and enforce workforce participation plans with emphasis on hiring local, diverse residents for construction and subcontracting. 

Chicago, IL — Today, the Obama Foundation issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to interested individuals and firms to apply for the role of Diversity Consultant for the Obama Presidential Center. The Diversity Consultant will be tasked with formulating, monitoring and enforcing the Construction Manager (CM)’s Diversity and Inclusion Plan, which will set out the commitments and other strategies related to diverse and local contracting, and the hiring of local residents and other underrepresented communities to be part of the OPC construction workforce. The Obama Foundation has made such contracting and workforce participation a priority of the development of the OPC. Together, the Diversity Consultant and CM will be responsible for carrying out the Foundation’s innovative workforce initiatives.

“President and Mrs. Obama have said the Obama Foundation belongs to the South Side community as much as it does to them. Today’s RFP is a reflection of our desire to make our new neighbors a part of this historic project. We will look for the best talent across the South Side, hiring diverse businesses and individuals to help build a world-class institution,” said David Simas, CEO of the Obama Foundation.

“Among the core values of the Obama Foundation is a commitment to diversity and inclusion. The Diversity Consultant will be integral in holding us accountable and ensuring we accomplish our aggressive goals for hiring local, diverse talent,” said Robbin Cohen, Executive Director of the Obama Foundation. “The Diversity Consultant will help us ensure that our commitment to diversity in embedded in our work at each step of the way in this historic project.”

The Obama Foundation has mandated that its Diversity Consultant demonstrate a verifiable record of implementing transparent and significant diversity and inclusion programs and an ability to support the CM in its obligations to meet, and hopefully exceed, the Foundation’s award of 50% or more of construction contracts and subcontracts to “diverse suppliers”, including 35% of contracts and subcontracts to minority based enterprises (MBEs). Additional “diverse suppliers” eligible for the Foundation’s contracts and contracts include women business enterprises (WBEs), businesses owned by veterans, people with disabilities, and individuals who identify as LGBTQ. In addition, the Foundation is looking for a Diversity Consultant with a history of working with unions and engaging with underemployed populations including ex-offenders and youth to increase the pipeline of talent.

The RFP will be made accessible to everyone who completes the registration form online. Additional details on the RFP can be found here. The Obama Foundation will be accepting applications until October 13, 2017. An announcement on the Diversity Consultant will come later this fall.

In August, the Foundation issued an RFP to four construction management teams for the Obama Presidential Center. The aggressive goals presented in the RFP related to workforce hiring will allow the Foundation to set a new precedent for diversity and inclusion in major construction projects in Chicago and beyond. An announcement on the Construction Manager is expected before year’s end to provide pre-construction services such as cost estimating, constructability review(s), value engineering, and logistics planning during the project’s remaining design phase. To ensure that the work of the Foundation is informed by a diverse set of viewpoints and is in line with its values of diversity and inclusion, the Obama Foundation announced the formation of an Inclusion Council in October 2016.