Dear Editor:

It was with great interest that we read Louis “Hop” Kendrick’s opinion column in last week’s New Pittsburgh Courier: “Will M/W/DBEs share in K. Leroy Irvis building?” (July 21, 2010). We respectfully offer the following information on the actions taken by the CCAC Board of Trustees and college leadership to promote significant minority participation in the K. Leroy Irvis Science Center. We thank Mr. Kendrick for presenting to us the opportunity to provide this information.

Promoting diversity and inclusion is a strategic priority at CCAC. Last month, the Board of Trustees accepted a comprehensive Tactical Plan for Diversity & Inclusion. The tactical plan defines diversity and inclusion as the clear responsibility of every person at CCAC. In addition, the plan presents a detailed description of the steps that will be taken over the next five years to make the college a more diverse and inclusive institution, including the makeup of the student body and faculty and reaching beyond our campuses to form and strengthen community partnerships.

CCAC has made significant progress toward accomplishment of the goals defined in the plan. Our minority enrollment for the entire student body has increased over the past decade from 16.4 percent to 23.5 percent, and the plan sets a five-year goal of 27 percent minority enrollment. We have established the Faculty Fellows Program, a minority internship initiative that seeks to prepare members of our adjunct faculty and new teaching professionals for full-time faculty positions. We have hired most participants in the program as full-time faculty members, and our plan is to double the number of participants. In addition, we have celebrated the second year of the Vanguard Diversity Awards, honoring achievements in diversity at CCAC and in the community.

Another significant element of our tactical plan addresses the core of Mr. Kendrick’s column: increasing and sustaining MWDBE participation in the college’s operations. In the 2006-2007 fiscal year, CCAC’s MWDBE contractor orders reflected 21 percent of total orders but only 8.9 percent of total dollars. Since 2007, the dollar percentage has nearly doubled to 17.5 percent, while sustaining the percentage of orders. Our initial goal of growing MWDBE dollars to 15 percent of the total has been surpassed, and our five-year goal is to increase the total to a sustainable 20 percent.

As CCAC embarks upon the K. Leroy Irvis Science Center, a state-of-the-art facility that will bring high-tech science education to our urban Allegheny Campus located on the North Side, the college is determined to honor the legacy of Mr. Irvis not only with the completed facility, but also in its construction. To meet that goal, CCAC has hosted special meeting sessions, some in collaboration with other organizations, specifically designed and conducted for MWDBE firms. At the MWDBE meetings, as well as the pre-bid meeting attended by 90 contractors—many led by minorities and women—the college has emphasized its firm commitment to meaningful MWDBE participation. We have stressed the importance of the presence of minority and women-owned businesses and the expectation that contractors on the project include a significant percentage of MWDBE workers and subcontractors. We also have a standing agreement for this goal with organized labor. Our intent is to closely monitor our contractors on the project to ensure that this goal is met.

We encourage everyone to learn more about CCAC’s commitment to diversity and inclusion by visiting Once on the site, select the left-hand link “About CCAC,” then click “Diversity Initiatives” to read the full Tactical Plan for Diversity & Inclusion. Further questions can be directed to Dr. Johnson’s office at 412-237-4413.

CCAC looks forward to demonstrating our commitment to diversity and honoring the legacy of Mr. Irvis in the construction of the K. Leroy Irvis Science Center.

Thomas Santone
Chair, CCAC Board of Trustees

Jay Costa Jr.
Chair, Finance Committee, and
Treasurer, CCAC Board of Trustees

Alex Johnson
President, CCAC

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