Design People & Places

9 Organizations for Black Contractors, Builders, Engineers, and Architects

These organizations strive to support and level the playing field for minorities working in construction, engineering, architecture, and other trades.
A Black man and woman in construction clothing and hardhats smiling as they overview a project.

Photo: istockphoto.com

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For decades, even centuries, Black workers have been underrepresented in the construction industry. According to information shared by the Construction Employers Association in 2023, Black workers made up just 11.1 percent of construction workers, while more than 53 percent of these workers were white. In 2022, fewer than 2 percent of those registered were Black architects.

Today, several organizations are working to help Black tradesmen (and women), along with Black contractors, architects, and engineers, to find success in these white-dominated fields. We’ve rounded up a list of some of these organizations. Read on to learn more about each and the various ways in which they work to support their members.

1. U.S. Minority Contractors Association

President and CEO Larry S. Bullock says, “The US Minority Contractors Association was founded 33 years ago and is a nationwide assistance agency for Black and minority contractors.” According to Bullock, the USMCA was started “because of a desire by the city of Chicago to get minority contractors bid-ready. And, that in essence means getting them the capacity to help them scale so that they can engage and become involved in the construction industry.”

Today, the organization has approximately 250 members of commercial and home improvement trades across 26 different states. The USMCA offers assistance and advocacy for their members and partners with related firms in the industry. Bullock shares that since the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill in 2021, the USMCA has been “engaged in trying to help with the electric vehicle infrastructure rollout…[and] in trying to work with manufacturers with microchips.” He sees the passage of this law as “an opportunity for many that have never had an opportunity before to be successful in the construction industry.”

2. National Black Contractors Association

The National Black Contractors Association, which is headquartered in San Diego, Calif., serves underrepresented contractors across The United States. The organization strives to offer the leadership and support necessary to help contractors from these groups grow their businesses and experience financial success. To reach these goals, they offer professional development and mentoring for their members and actively lobby political leaders to make changes that will support them.

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Photo: istockphoto.com

3. National Association of Minority Contractors

Founded in 1969, The National Association of Minority Contractors is the oldest minority-owned construction trade association in the country. The NAMC’s mission is to increase the opportunities presented to minority contractors and to offer them the skills they need to find success. Additionally, the organization serves as an advocate for undocumented veterans working in construction-related fields. The NAMC is continuously working to build new relationships and form new partnerships that will continue to advance the organization’s mission and support its members.

4. National Black Chamber Of Commerce

The National Black Chamber of Commerce is a nonprofit organization that was incorporated in 1993. Its goal is to encourage entrepreneurship and empower African American individuals and communities as a whole. The NBCC has 140 chapters across the United States, along with other affiliates around the world. One of the ways the NBCC supports Black contractors is by helping them find federal contracts. Members can sign up with U.S Federal Contractor Registration (USFCR) to gain access to software to help them locate federal contracts and grants that will be the right fit for their needs and skills.

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Photo: istockphoto.com

5. National Society of Black Engineers

The National Society of Black Engineers was founded in 1975 with the goal of helping more Black individuals prosper in engineering careers. The student-governed organization works to support college and pre-college level students find academic success in technology and engineering subjects. Today, there are more than 790 chapters of the NSBE.

To support members and the community, The NSBE offers summer camps for 3rd through 5th graders, works to increase the number of minority students studying engineering, and encourages members to continue their education and earn advanced degrees in STEM-related fields.

6. Black Contractors Association

The Black Contractors Association was recently founded as another voice to speak for and encourage Black general contractors and other construction workers. Jarrod Sims, President of the Birmingham, Ala., chapter of the organization, says, “At the Black Contractors Association (BCA), we empower our members through advocacy, legal support, empowering resources, and creating opportunities.”

Sims adds that BCA is committed to championing the rights and interests of Black contractors.  “We provide essential guidance, resources, and networking opportunities to navigate the complexities of the construction industry. By fostering a supportive community and advocating for equal opportunities, we equip our members with the tools they need to thrive and succeed,” he says.

A-Black-construction-engineer-works-on-a-laptop-in-an-industrial-building.
Photo: istockphoto.com

7. The National Business League

The National Business League (NBL) was founded by Booker T. Washington in 1900, making it the first nonprofit association for Black professionals in the country. In the century that has followed its inception, the NBL has been working to empower Black workers and help them create successful business endeavors.

Today, the organization has more than 120,000 members in the United States, with City Business League and Student Business League chapters in every state. To support these members, The NBL runs programs, provides resources, partners with large businesses and organizations, facilitates connections, and more.

8. By Black

Through its certification program, ByBlack can help Black contractors and other professionals grow their businesses. The nonprofit organization works with financial institutions and Black chambers of commerce to make it easier for Black-owned businesses to succeed. Once a business is certified, it becomes a trusted vendor that can access USBC events and conferences for free, apply for grants, and build relationships with other community members. Certified businesses are often sought out for specific opportunities, such as subcontractor work on a large project.

9. National Association of Black Women in Construction

The National Association of Black Women in Construction (NABWIC) was formed in 1991. The Florida-based nonprofit aims to help Black women in construction and other fields feel empowered so they can find success. Currently, the organization has chapters in 10 states. To achieve its mission of increasing the national awareness of Black women working in construction-related fields, the NABWIC provides training, helps its members forge connections, provides support and educational resources, and advocates for the organization’s members.