Our Economic Mobility team is dedicated to elevating the entrepreneurial ecosystem through programs and initiatives that provide new opportunities for Detroit talent. Part of our focus is on the construction industry, creating programs like the Motor City Contractor Fund (MCCF), a $10M program launched last year which gives Detroit contractors the training and support needed to thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Our Program Manager for Economic Mobility, Kinnus Paul, has been instrumental in driving the MCCF program from the beginning. Recently, Paul participated in the third annual Construction Inclusion Week – an important initiative that builds awareness and celebrates diversity and inclusion in the construction space while providing training and business resources to up-and-coming BIPOC contractors.
Paul attended Barton Malow’s signature event for Construction Inclusion Week at Henry Ford Hospital. The mixer included representatives from the Detroit Home Repair Fund (DHRF), which we created with ProMedica and DTE last year to provide low-income Detroiters with critical home repairs. DHRF presented job opportunities to the contractors at the mixer, connecting our dedication to stabilizing housing with our goal to create new pathways for Detroiters to mobilize economic growth.
Kinnus Paul: Driving Inclusion and Equity in Detroit’s Construction Ecosystem
Paul manages our construction and skilled trades portfolio, which is an important part of our mission to advance Economic Mobility for Detroiters. For Paul, the values he grew up with made a profound impact on the way he approached his own career. Paul’s father – who was raised in a small town in the segregated South – instilled in him the value of “representing our community positively,” and “prioritizing “we” over “me.” Once he found work with a nonprofit dedicated to addressing environmental social justice issues, he was inspired. “I saw there was untapped potential within entrepreneurship and the trades,” he said. He realized there were lucrative jobs in skilled trades and construction, and wanted to help others in his community achieve success in this space. “I am focused on shining a light on the pathways to self-sustaining wages within the trades and construction, particularly for communities of color,” he said.
Paul is deeply involved in the program development for the Motor City Contractor Fund, and is excited to see how the program will continue to evolve. With so much development happening in Detroit, Paul wants Detroit-based contractors to have a shot at bidding and landing these sought-after projects. But he also wants to support the next generation of Detroit talent.
“My goal is to serve as a catalyst for raising awareness and expanding access to opportunities in the construction industry, not only for those already engaged in this sector but also for the youth seeking guidance in defining their career paths,” he said. “My ultimate vision is for the programs I initiate to nurture the development of the next Barton Malow, Turner, and other multibillion-dollar construction firms right within the city of Detroit. Initiatives like Construction Inclusion Week and the Motor City Contractor Fund will be the driving forces propelling us toward this goal.”
We are excited to see what new connections will arise from Construction Inclusion Week, and how Paul and his team will continue to lean in to support this important component of our work.