Penn Receives African-American Chamber of Commerce 2015 Corporate Advocate of the Year Award

The African American Chamber of Commerce of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware honored the University of Pennsylvania with its 2015 Corporate Advocate of the Year Award in recognition of Penn's commitment to diversity and inclusion with minorities, women and local businesses through its Economic Inclusion Program. AACC Board Chair Steven Scott Bradley presented the award to Penn Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli at the Chamber's annual meeting on May 27.

“The University of Pennsylvania is honored to receive the Chamber’s Award acknowledging Penn’s strategic and systematic, proactive approach to economic inclusion,” Carnaroli said. “Penn is committed to expanding economic opportunities for minorities and women and is a recognized model for how educational institutions are enhancing the economic vitality of the community, city and regions we serve.”

The University’s economic inclusion strategy includes annual goals for engaging local and minority- and women-owned businesses and workforce participation in the areas of purchasing, human resources and construction and an array of programs and partnerships aimed at building capacity and community engagement.

"The Corporate Advocate of the Year award is presented to an organization that's succeeding in the area of African-American purchasing, is an engaged partner of the AACC and works with us to ensure that our members have information and access to opportunities that will help them grow and hire," said AACC Executive Director Shalimar Thomas. "The University of Pennsylvania is extremely deserving of this award and the AACC is honored to work with such strong partners to help us move our mission forward."

In the area of capacity building, Penn hosts an annual vendor expo for minority- and women-owned businesses and a capital project information session to provide access and opportunity for such new businesses. Additionally, pipeline programs in Penn Medicine, STEM education programs in West Philadelphia schools and participation in the Architecture, Construction and Engineering, or ACE, mentor program and other pre-apprenticeship programs help expand skilled workforce capacity. 

In FY14, Penn’s purchasing spend was greater than $100 million for both West Philadelphia and diversity suppliers. Over the past 10 years, Penn’s total average minority- and women-owned business construction spend was approximately $32 million annually, or nearly 33 percent of the total contract spend. As of March 2014, Penn hired more than 15 percent of its workforce from the West and Southwest Philadelphia community in positions throughout the University and Penn Medicine.