As a certified Minority-Owned Business Enterprise (MBE), DIGroup Architecture (DIG) deploys its commitment to diversity, inclusion and sustainable solutions in the built environment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Holding the distinction as New Jersey’s largest majority Black-owned architecture, interiors and environmental graphic design firm, DIG is marking National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week’s 40th year by highlighting how the built environment influences underserved communities while raising awareness among young people of color regarding architecture, construction, engineering (ACE) and STEM careers.
“Since its inception, DIG has been empowering underserved populations and communities with our craft by creating purposeful, well-planned spaces and facilities for positive change and maximum impact for all,” said Vincent Myers, DIG president, principal and co-founder. “By extension, we also engage in advocacy and mentorship initiatives through our physical presence and shared experience that puts us in front of middle and high school and college students to alter their perception of what an architect, interior designer or graphic designer ‘looks like.’”
Created to bolster and encourage minority entrepreneurship by the Minority Business Development Agency/U.S. Department of Commerce, this year’s MED week theme is “Close the Equity Gap.” Many cities are also hosting their own weeks, with Philadelphia Minority Enterprise Development Week being held October 2 – 6, 2023.
Steadfast in supporting and expanding upon its current mentorship initiatives, DIG’s professionals get in front of minority young people and women through the ACE Mentor Program; guest speaking engagements at local high schools and colleges/universities; serving as panelists to discuss diversity in architecture; participating in STEM and construction-related events; and outreach within the communities in which DIGroup projects are located.
“The more times young people experience visibility, leadership and representation, the greater the likelihood they will consider a career in an ACE and/or STEM field and be part of changing the trajectory of underrepresentation,” added Myers.
Furthermore, DIG is dedicated to building diversity from within that reflects equity and inclusion values in its day-to-day business practices. In addition to appointing its first minority female to the role of principal in 2022, DIG raises others up through sustainable business hiring and promotion.
At DIG, 53% of the entire staff are women with leadership and professional roles that include one principal, two associates, three directors, three managers and six architects/designers. In fact, DIG has nearly tripled its female employee base since 2014 through the hiring and promotion of women, many of whom are people of color.
“We recognize that underrepresentation within our own profession limits inclusiveness and creativity of the built environment, particularly those spaces in communities where architecture and design have the power to enrich and strengthen,” said Myers. “DIG has embraced the fact that much more work has yet to be done in our own industry and greater society, and we will continue to do our part to close the equity gap through physical space and sustainable business practices.”