ROCHESTER — John Marshall High School’s 11th-grade economics students will take center stage on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023, at the Chateau Theatre for the Downtown Business Pitch day with sessions between 9:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.

The event is focused on career exposure and promotes innovation and introduces students to the world of design thinking and the built environment.

This event is part of the Equity in the Built Environment program, a joint initiative of the City of Rochester and Workforce Development Inc., with the goal of opening doors for women of color in the built environment industries.

“Students have spent the last three weeks working with local mentors to develop and prepare a pitch for innovative business ideas that address the needs of the community and align with downtown trends,” EBE project manager Julie Brock said in announcing the event. “This real-world experience will help students gain a better understanding of building and design and encourage them to consider careers in the built environment.

By introducing these opportunities at the high school level, the event particularly aims to inspire young women of color to consider career possibilities in these industries.”

The Equity in the Built Environment program’s mission is to support women of color in their pursuit of careers within the built environment industries and, simultaneously, encourage industry partners to embrace inclusivity.

While 13% of Rochester’s population identifies as women of color, there are less than 2% of women of color currently working in these industries in Rochester and Olmsted County (Deed, 2023). The program won the 2021 Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Mayors Challenge for its work to address economic disparities in the built environment.

In addition to the event, the Equity in the Built Environment program offers three other components:

• Training for Women: Women can sign up for trades readiness training through WDI, which begins on January 9, 2024

• Entrepreneurs: Women with previous experience in the built environment can explore opportunities to start their own businesses.

• Training for Built Environment Companies: Companies are encouraged to become Inclusive Workplace Employers (I/WE) by hiring individuals from the EBE program.


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