INDIANAPOLIS — The backers of a massive construction project on Indianapolis's northeast side are focused on hiring workers who tend to be overlooked in the construction industry.
Bloomington-based "Cook Medical" is building a manufacturing facility on East 38th Street and Sheridan Avenue and it wants a diverse team building and running it.
Gary Dozier is already on the job, working as the carpenter foreman, working on the foundation.
Dozier has been building things for more than 20 years.
He's not only a hardworking man, but also he's a family man.
"I was able to raise 3 daughters," Dozier says, "All my daughters is off to school, in college and you know, it just provided a good life."
Dozier is fairly new to this particular project; he was recruited to be part of a team constructing the new 48,000 square foot manufacturing facility, which will produce surgical and medical equipment like catheters, needles, wires and tubes.
Dozier's team is working on the exterior and interior framing, drywall, and doors.
This project, however, in a predominantly black neighborhood, needs dozens more workers to take it from a blueprint to a building.
That's where Akilah Darden and her construction management firm, Darden Group LLC, comes in.
"It was very intentional to come here and change the socio-economics for the people, by the people," Darden says, "So in order to do that, you have to hire the community and have people working here that look like the community."
"Cook Medical" hired Darden to get the word out and onboard roughly 100 people of color, women and veterans.
Darden tells WRTV her firm will accept anyone over 18 for this project, with no experience necessary.
Darden Group LLC will provide construction and OSHA 10 safety certifications, offer paid training, and consider any applicant with a background or other barriers.
Darden says this project is about lifting up people who have been typically overlooked and giving them a chance to work on a project in their own neighborhood.
She hopes the opportunity at 38th & Sheridan leads to other open doors for the people she will hire.
"We are not going to turn anyone away," Darden says, "And we are not only going to get them employment for this project but construction projects beyond. It's a career, not just a job."
Already 18 Marion County residents have been hired.
And several black-owned contracting companies have signed on to help build the Cook Medical facility.
Gary Dozier started building his construction career right out of high school and took advantage of training programs and applied himself to push through the learning curve.
He says the journey and the career are worth it.
"The most rewarding I would say is the money," he says, "The money is not bad at all. The benefits [are] excellent."
The Cook Medical facility is expected to be complete at the end of this year.
In addition to the immediately available construction positions, Goodwill Industries will oversee manufacturing operations and will need to hire at least 100 workers later this year.