AIA Pennsylvania Champions UDream

Addressing the disproportionately small numbers of architects of color in our industry, AIA Pennsylvania introduced a resolution to the national membership in 2021 to promote the highly successful UDream program implemented in Pittsburgh.  This program, begun in 2009, was led by Carnegie Mellon University with funding from the Heinz Endowments and in partnership with local architecture firms, community development corporations, and the city.  The program brought recent college graduates, most with a first professional degree from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the country to Pittsburgh.  Many of them practice in Pittsburgh today, resulting in a 400% increase in minority design professionals in the city.  The resolution intends that this model be shared with the membership as other organizations consider effective strategies for addressing this crisis in our industry.

AIA National invited AIA Pennsylvania to prepare a webcast presentation for delivery to the national body.  The AIA Pennsylvania Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee spent 2022 preparing a presentation along with a short video that includes information on the UDream program, its basic educational, professional practice, and community engagement components, along with testimonials from recent alumni and the Dean of a participating HBCU.  Marc Mondor, past AIA PA President, and Dr. Erica Cochran, who leads the UDREAM program at CMU, are also featured. The webcast is intended to be presented in Spring 2023.

Anne Chen, AIA
Co-chair, AIA Pennsylvania Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee
Founder, BLD:ac