A new scholarship program will assist Black and disadvantaged minority students studying in construction fields at historically Black colleges and universities to promote diversity in industry leadership positions. The Associated General Contractors of America and construction management software maker Procore Technologies said on Sept. 22 that they have partnered to launch the $250,000 challenge gift provided by Procore. AGC has launched a fundraising campaign that aims to meet and exceed that amount.

Black workers account for 3% of those employed in the construction industry, including 8% of construction laborers and 9.9% of equipment operators, but just 3.3% of industry managers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The ultimate outcome of these scholarships is to increase the representation of African Americans in the construction industry, where the numbers have remained too small for too long,” said Pat Wadors, chief talent officer at Procore.

The scholarship program is part of an AGC effort to make the industry more diverse and inclusive, association CEO Stephen E. Sandherr said. “These new scholarships will put a new and more diverse generation of students on track to become tomorrow’s construction leaders and innovators,” he said.

Other AGC efforts to increas industry diversity include a national recruiting campaign, a program aimed at creating more inclusive workplaces and education for construction sector academics to learn about the advantages of more diverse firms.

The AGC Education and Research Foundation will administer the scholarship. It awards several construction-related scholarships each year, and says it has awarded more than $10 million in scholarships to 4,000 students across the U.S. to date.