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That’s a wrap!

The 2019 General Assembly closed on April 8th and we’ve updated the spreadsheet of bills we have been following for you. Check the list to see the final outcome of those bills. Our Legislative Session Review will be out next week so be watching your mailbox for our summary of events this session.

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Is Your Home Ready for a Disaster?

We may not live in a hot zone for storms but Maryland residents do experience storm damage. From hurricanes to tornados and earthquakes, we’ve seen it all. Check out this article featuring Greg Beste, AIA.  We were fortunate to have Greg conduct our SAP training in December, 2018.

Watch your email for another SAP training being offered on the first day of hurricane season – June 1st. Earn 6.5 HSW CEUs and help us reach our goal to have 100 trained building evaluators in Maryland.

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AIA Resilience and Adaptation Online Certificate Program

For a limited time, purchase all nine courses and get 25% off the series!

Do you want to integrate resilience into the design services your firm offers? The Resilience and Adaptation series is your answer. This exclusive multi-course series covers mitigation, resilience and adaptation, technical design application, and design process application. Take all courses in the series to learn best practices for mitigating risk for hazards, shocks, and stresses and adapting to changing conditions. Perfect for midcareer architects. Anyone completing all courses in the AIA Resilience and Adaptation series will receive a certificate acknowledging their completion of all courses in the program, in addition to the individual course certificates available for each course. Visit AIAU to sign-in and purchase.

The AIA resilience and Adaptation Online Series is developed by the AIA as part of the resilience and adaptation initiative.

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It’s Crossover Day in Annapolis!

Today is the deadline for all bills introduced this year to “crossover” to the other chamber. Bills that have not passed in their respective committees by the end of today will not crossover and are likely dead for this year. You can see all the bills AIA Maryland is following on behalf of Maryland architects HERE.

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5 Takeaways From The AIA’s Latest Discussion of Its Problem with Diversity

It’s no secret that the architectural profession has a diversity problem. Of the AIA’s 94,000 members, just 2,270 are African American, and of those, 452 are women, according to data from the Directory of African American Architects. And, for now at least, the future doesn’t seem to be looking much brighter: Only five percent of students enrolled in architecture programs are African American, according to demographic data compiled by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.

Last night, a group of architects, advocates, and curators assembled at the Washington, D.C., chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to unpack and address some of these concerns. At an evening event titled “Embracing Our Differences, Changing the World,” AIA President William Bates and National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) President Kimberly Dowdell discussed equity, diversity, and inclusion with Michelle Joan Wilkinson, a curator of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, before a packed house. “It’s not a secret that architecture as a profession has fallen behind,” Bates conceded, adding that the percentage of black students in architecture programs is “not that different from what it was 50 years ago.”

Seizing upon guidelines for diversity and inclusion that the AIA released earlier this year, the speakers reflected upon the urgent need for more equitable representation in the profession.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE FROM ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST HERE

You’ve Got to See It to Be It
NOMA and the AIA have dedicated resources toward boosting those numbers, to more accurately reflect the diversity in the country. Both organizations hope to increase the visibility of people of color in the profession. “When my kids were in school, their classmates had come to the conclusion by fourth grade that African Americans couldn’t be architects,” said Bates. “It’s biases that are passed on from parents, and we need to change that dynamic.”

Put another way, many members of underserved communities don’t recognize architecture as a viable career opportunity simply because they don’t know it’s a pathway open to them. In addressing the visibility problem of minorities in architecture, Dowdell referenced a quote from Michelle Obama (who, in turn, was quoting Marian Wright Edelman)—“You can’t be what you can’t see.”

Design Education Should Begin in K-12 Schools
NOMA was founded in 1971 by a group of a dozen African American architects who banded together at the AIA national convention in Detroit to advance minority representation in architecture. Now, the organization recognizes the need to start potential architects on the pathway early, and its Project Pipeline initiative focuses on K-12 students with architectural summer camps, workshops, and field trips mentored by practicing architects. AIA and NOMA leadership acknowledged that the road to becoming an architect is a lengthy one—as well as a costly one—so the introduction of architecture has to come early enough that a student can make the right educational choices to enter the profession. “By virtue of people having access to architects of color in these Project Pipeline camps, they actually see a potential future in this field,” Dowdell said. “That’s been important in showing students that they could become architects.”

America’s Wealth Gap Is Causing People of Color to “Value Engineer” Their Career Paths
In addition to the lack of visibility of the profession, a large part of the educational disparity has to do with the wealth gap, which Dowdell frequently talks about. “Given that, typically, people of color tend to have a lower level of resources available, it can be a deterrent to a profession that is actually quite expensive,” she said. “When you’re looking at your options, particularly as a young person of color, if you don’t come from a family of means, you’re going to value engineer yourself into a different profession.”

Design Firms Need Leadership That Is Both Diverse and Nurturing
Continuing the through-line of the idea of “seeing it to be it,” Dowdell and Bates both acknowledged that there’s still much work to be done in terms of gaining more diversity at the top of the profession to ensure that young architects have mentors to propel them forward. Bates said this included majority mentorship of minority interns, and that the AIA sees opportunities to coach people in firm leadership roles. Dowdell, interviewed after the panel, was more direct: “I think that firm culture needs to be more open to different voices at the table,” she said. “More firms need to have a more diverse pool of people in leadership, particularly in the ownership positions, and principals of color will actually be helpful to creating a greater culture of inclusion.”

“Just be Human” and Continue the Equity Conversation
Equity, diversity, and inclusion must be topics of discussion beyond just a single event in one location, and that’s part of what the event encouraged: continued dialogue afterward and beyond. Both Bates and Dowdell pointed to the AIA guidelines on equitable practice as a conversation starter. “We hope [the guidelines] will take root and get some traction, and we can build a pathway for minorities to find their ways into firms, and not only that but leadership within those firms,” Bates said. Dowdell also urged attendees to keep talking about equity: “You have to start the conversation about bridging between different cultures to have the successes that we want to see in our firms,” she said. “Don’t be accusatory, don’t be weird. Just be a human and talk to another human.”

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Resilience Starts with Financial Preparedness: Save for the Unexpected

During America Saves Week, the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education® (AFCPE®) and FEMA’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division are conducting a Webinar on the importance of financial preparedness for emergencies and the best ways to prepare.  

Join top financial preparedness experts Rebecca Wiggins, Executive Director, AFCPE® and Sara Croymans, AFC® Professional, AFCPE® on Wednesday, February 27th from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST

Register by using this link.

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