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UPMC Helps Diverse Businesses with New Education Effort

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PITTSBURGH – As part of its long-time commitment to supporting diverse suppliers and fueling economic development in the region, UPMC today announced its Diverse Business Education and Development Program aimed at strengthening companies run by minorities, women, the disabled and other diverse groups.


Working with three partners—the University of Pittsburgh, Turner Construction Company and Omicelo Cares—and with financial support from the UPMC Health Plan, the new program “will ensure that our diverse vendors are better-equipped than ever before to participate in UPMC opportunities,” said George Robinson II, manager of supplier diversity at UPMC.


Through the University of Pittsburgh’s Small Business Development Center,  part of the Institute of Entrepreneurial Excellence, UPMC is providing a series of specialized classes for diverse vendors that have been in business for at least one full year and are new to doing business with UPMC. With the first session starting July 10, the classes will help suppliers improve their finance, marketing and other business skills, while obtaining approval to be listed on the UPMC Supplier Diversity Portal. That tool is used by buyers within the health system to find diverse vendors for a wide range of goods and services. To attend this Pitt program, suppliers pay only a small application fee upon acceptance.


Partnering with UPMC, the Turner School of Construction Management—a 50-year-old effort by Turner to improve the economic viability of under-represented business enterprises—will offer business development classes in Pittsburgh, beginning August 27. Previously held in other cities throughout the country, the program covers such topics as bonding and insurance, bidding and financial management. Classes will be held bi-weekly one evening a week for 12 weeks. The Pittsburgh program also will cover components specific to UPMC’s engineering and construction requirements.  


The third piece of UPMC’s Diverse Business Education and Development Program is a partnership with Omicelo Cares. This nonprofit will offer business development assistance to UPMC’s existing base of diverse vendors using its “7 Pillars” framework focused on strategy, technology, communication, finance, legal, capital and people. The mission of Omicelo Cares is to grow community members’ incomes in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods through specialized real estate education and support for small businesses.


These initial education sessions are expected to reach 125 diverse vendors from July through December, but Robinson anticipates that additional classes will be added in the future. “We expect to expand this model throughout the regions served by UPMC. Our diverse suppliers will then be even better able to support high-quality care for our patients, while creating more jobs in our communities,” he said. 


UPMC’s supplier diversity program aims to give diverse businesses equal access to the health system’s procurement opportunities. The program ensures that certified diverse businesses are provided the maximum opportunity to participate as partners and suppliers of goods and services to UPMC, which achieved $225 million in spending last year with more than 400 diverse suppliers.