Turner establishes annual $70,000 grant for Tuskegee University construction programs

By Larry StewartSeptember 12, 2022

Tuskegee University, located in Tuskegee, AL, is set to receive $70,000 anually for its architecture, construction science and management, and engineering programs starting this fall Photo: Tuskegee University

Turner Construction Company is doing its part to ensure a rich and diverse flow of talent into the field of construction through a new grant program that will benefit eight historically black colleges and universities.

One such school is Tuskegee University, located in Tuskegee, AL, which is set to receive $70,000 anually for its architecture, construction science and management, and engineering programs starting this fall.

Turner’s program, intended to support historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), is expected to attract the best team of students and offer opportunities to promote Tuskegee’s School of Architecture and Construction Science and Management research efforts to preserve Booker T. Washington’s mission: “Learn to do by doing.”

Student tuition assistance and internships, financial support for travel, software and equipment to benefit learning objectives, student competitions team support for travel to conferences, and reciprocal teaching to support an interdisciplinary capstone project are the areas of collaboration.

“Turner’s presence on campus will allow us to forge a lasting relationship that contributes to curriculum development and engage in real-world dialogues to accelerate our institution’s growth efforts,” said Dr. Charlotte P. Morris, Tuskegee University president. “We have been discussing a tiny house community for several years. I am elated to see this effort start to take shape with the support of such a world-renowned construction company.”

Dr. Carla Jackson Bell, dean of the Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science, professor of architecture and project principal investigator, said “Turner Construction Company strives to expand students’ hands-on experience in order to prepare them for an interdisciplinary senior capstone project that will support our goal to focus on the design and construction of energy-efficient inhabitable net-zero homes using self-sustaining, recyclable, and affordable biodegradable building materials. This program will increase the awareness of the Macon County community of the importance of designing and constructing energy-efficient structures.”

Tuskegee University is one of eight HBCUs benefiting from professional development and training led by Turner through its diversity manager and talent acquisition team. Collaboration with Turner Construction will expand the school’s mission by historically and philosophically exploring African American education and diversifying the profession.

Booker T. Washington advocated educating the whole individual - the hand, heart, and mind; he also advocated “correlation,” meaning applying academic study to practical work.

In 2020, Turner established a 2030 Vision for diversity, equity and inclusion: “To reflect the communities in which we live and work, and to achieve equitable representation at all levels of our company. This means fostering a cultural shift and building a workplace where all employees feel valued, have a sense of belonging, and have equal opportunity for a

Graphic: Turner Construction Co.

meaningful career.”

In a 2021 DE&I Impact Report, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Karen Sweeney said, “We recognize that even with many years of commitment to diversity and belonging, we are still not where we want to be with our representation.

“This was an important self-realization, and that vulnerability has inspired a change in our approach and refocused our efforts in more strategic ways. We will take bold and deliberate action to create the right environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.” 

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