Compass Dartez was originally formed to provide large event displays and public art fabrication. As the economy shifted in 2010, our founder Kim Dartez, recognized a disturbing trend of unemployment getting more and more extreme in the African American community. Currently the rate of unemployment for African Americans is near 26%. Kim's efforts through the national Women of Color Network fighting domestic violence has also provided unique insights into the role gainful employment can play in preventing tensions in homes. Providing employment opportunities for high-risk youth can often help guide them away from negative role models and create more stable home environments.
Kim began exploring evolving her firm's services to encompass traffic control and general labor opportunities as a mechanism for expanding opportunities for her company and creating opportunities for communities. For the past seven years, we have successfully employed hundreds of young people in living-wage paying construction related jobs. Our general labor efforts have evolved to a workforce development program. Our goal is to position high-risk youth for long-term success in construction and construction-related careers.
Further, Arizona has the highest veteran suicide rate in the nation. Many former military personnel struggle to successfully transition into the civilian workforce. Military training instills the work ethic, attention to detail, and regimented lifestyle necessary to succeed in construction. One of the most effective methods for preventing the depression that can lead to suicide is to provide living-wage employment opportunities. At Compass Dartez, we strive to do just that.
We provide employment, mentorship, the opportunity to participate in apprenticeship programs, such as our General Labor Apprenticeship program recently approved by the Arizona Department of Economic Security, and work to place our staff with unions and established construction firms. Through Kim's role on the Governor's Commission of African American Affairs and continued quality service to our clients, we strive everyday to make a difference in these young people's lives.
Arizona Disadvantaged Business Enterprise
City of Phoenix Small Business Enterprise