Inclusion & Diversity
The goal: Create an Empowerment Zone in a region where all three firms had deep community roots.
In 1995, Gonzalez Design Engineering, The Ideal Group, and Uni Boring, three suburban Detroit, Hispanic-owned manufacturers supplying the automobile industry, formed a partnership. An area in southwest Detroit, known locally as Mexicantown, has a large Hispanic population and an untapped labor pool, and that is precisely where the companies joined to expand their operations to a 22-acre facility.
The Hispanic Manufacturing Center (HMC) became one of the nation’s largest and most recognized empowerment zone operators. The business owners worked with the Mexicantown CDC and the Southwest Detroit Development Corp. Together, we hired contractors to restore the area, helped finance the environmental clean-up of commercial sites for area merchants, and organized community policing programs that reduced neighborhood crime.
The Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation created a job-training program targeting gang members and welfare recipients in a parallel effort. Participants receive training in welding and advanced manufacturing techniques such as computer-assisted production and quality assurance inspection.
Community leaders in the area are now promoting local tourism, sponsoring Hispanic festivals, and marketing campaigns for area restaurants. As a direct result, the community fosters more business expansions and relocations to the area.
The combination of our empowerment zone location with a strong community partnership for training development and implementation resulted in a powerful equation that benefits the businesses and community of Southwest Detroit.
Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation
DHDC is rooted in the vibrant culture of the Latino community in Detroit with the mission to make a difference by creating life-changing opportunities and serves over 5,000 youth and adults annually. Programs include adult education services that reach out to non-traditional students, youth services that are recognized as some of the best in the city of Detroit, and family services that emphasize the importance of healthy family communication.
SER Metro-Detroit began in 1971 as a small community-based organization and has since evolved into a vital Detroit resource, enhancing the lives of thousands across the city each year. Through a series of education, job training, and job placement programs, along with youth development and education initiatives, SER provides Detroit residents with the skills, resources, and opportunities they need to achieve self-sufficiency.
The Billion Dollar Roundtable was created in 2001 to recognize and celebrate corporations that achieved spending of at least $1 billion with minority and woman-owned suppliers. The BDR promotes and shares best practices in supply chain diversity excellence through the production of white papers. In discussions, the members review common issues, opportunities, and strategies. The BDR encourages corporate entities to continue growing their supplier diversity programs by increasing commitment and spending levels each year.