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Kentucky Construction Businesses Receive One-on-One Coaching in Construction Diversity Accelerator


CDA Construction Diversity Accelerator Logo

The University of Kentucky (UK), Turner Construction Company and the Kentucky APEX Accelerator recently accepted 19 participants from 15 companies to the 2023 Construction Diversity Accelerator (CDA). This is the second cohort to participate in the accelerator, a 10-week program designed to give minority, women and veteran-owned construction and related businesses the skills they need to be competitive in their industry.


“The outcome of our collaboration with UK and Turner Construction is to help improve equity and diversity in contracting and remove barriers for historically underrepresented and disadvantaged small businesses,” said Kentucky APEX Accelerator Executive Director Nancy Brown. “The Kentucky APEX Accelerator consultants are assisting contractors with certifications, capability statements and individual coaching to achieve lasting success and compete on a level playing field.”


Throughout the program, participants obtain training from subject matter experts at both Turner Construction and the University of Kentucky while walking through the process of bidding on an active construction project on UK’s campus. The program culminates with the submission and presentation of a mock bid prepared by each team of participants.


Several people walk through a construction site wearing hard hats and reflective vests.
2023 CDA participants tour an active construction site on UK's campus.

"Turner Construction is proud to partner with the University of Kentucky and Kentucky APEX Accelerator to implement our Construction Diversity Accelerator program,” said Turner Construction Community & Citizenship Manager Kristen Smitherman-Voltaire. “The beauty of this partnership is that each organization is able to bring their expertise to the program to create a holistic system of support for the businesses participating this year. As part of the program, CDA participants have access to the robust consulting services provided by Kentucky APEX Accelerator, the numerous bid opportunities issued by the University of Kentucky, and the construction management training offered by our subject matter experts at Turner. We are thrilled to have joined forces with our partners in the Central Kentucky community to ensure every business is on the right track for success to maximize their growth within the program and post-graduation. We look forward to continuing the work of building a more inclusive industry.”


Consultants from the Kentucky APEX Accelerator, an initiative of the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation dedicated to helping Kentucky businesses navigate the complex world of government contracting, support the CDA participants throughout the program and provide one-on-one coaching specific to each business. Support includes business readiness assessments, guidance with crafting a business capabilities statement and assistance with completing government certifications such as women-owned and minority-owned designations.


“This is a wonderful opportunity for construction and related firms to get concentrated, hands-on experience with an excellent construction company,” explained J.C. Watkins, a Kentucky APEX Accelerator procurement consultant based in Bowling Green. “Participants will experience how a large contractor approaches contracts and sets out requirements for subcontractors, and this opportunity provides a watchful eye as newer firms activate their newfound skills.”


Eight men and women pose for the camera.
Kentucky APEX Accelerator team members pose with KSTC President Terry Samuel at the 2023 CDA Welcome Reception.

Participants in the 2023 accelerator cohort include women, minority and veteran-owned businesses and represent 12 trade categories such as sitework, utilities, carpentry, concrete and finishes. Businesses are located throughout the central Kentucky region, with the majority based in Louisville and Lexington.

“I’m looking forward to working with the second cohort,” added Kendria Rice-Locket, a procurement consultant in the Kentucky APEX Accelerator’s Louisville office. “Many of the minority-owned, women-owned, and other underrepresented construction-related businesses selected have faced huge challenges starting their business. The CDA offers hands-on experiences while working on active projects, as well as networking opportunities with key community partners. This is the first rung on the ladder to success in the construction field.”


Those interested in learning more about government contracting resources, including the Construction Diversity Accelerator, can visit kyapex.com.




About Kentucky APEX Accelerator

Formerly known as KYPTAC, the Kentucky APEX Accelerator is an initiative of the Kentucky Science & Technology Corporation (KSTC) that promotes economic development and private sector business growth by providing free assistance to companies interested in providing products or services to federal, state and local governments and large primes, which annually offer billions of dollars in contracts to private sector companies. The Kentucky APEX Accelerator is funded in part through cooperative agreements with the Department of Defense and Kentucky’s Cabinet for Economic Development. Learn more at www.kyapex.com.


About Turner Construction

Turner Construction is one of the largest construction companies in the country with regional offices in Lexington, Louisville and Cincinnati. The Construction Diversity Accelerator is based on the company’s acclaimed Turner School of Construction Management program, which is the oldest community outreach program in Turner’s history. It was initiated in 1969 to address the needs of diverse suppliers, and soon became an opportunity to develop strategic business relationships with minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, small and underrepresented construction-related firms. Since then, Turner has been committed to intentionally creating opportunities that lead to greater equity and inclusion in the construction industry. You can learn more about Turner's commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion here.


About the University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky is a public, land grant university dedicated to improving people’s lives through excellence in education, research and creative work, service and health care. As Kentucky's flagship institution, the university plays a critical leadership role by promoting diversity, inclusion, economic development and human well-being.


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