Jul. 11, 2012

Last week, a report from the Economic Policy Institute showed that the unemployment rate for black workers in the Twin Cities was 17.7 percent, about 3.3 times higher than the white unemployment rate in the region. Both of those numbers are down from 2010 when the unemployment rate was 21 percent and the disparity was 3.6.

Numbers like these don’t always tell the whole story. We all still know too many unemployed workers who are fighting for their fare share. But what the numbers do tell us is that we’re making progress. They tell us that the work we’ve been doing in the construction industry is starting to pay off. We’ve seen significant hiring increases for people of color in both MnDOT construction and CCLRT construction. We should continue to see this improve as we hold contractors accountable on the construction of the Viking’s stadium and future transportation projects.

But these statistics also show us that we cannot eliminate disparities by focusing on construction alone. That’s why we have made it a priority to ensure people of color are hired to fill all types of jobs associated with the Vikings stadium. HIRE Minnesota will continue to work with the city of Minneapolis and the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Authority to ensure that all the contractors and vendors–and even the surrounding businesses–contribute to ending our employment disparities. We know it will take this comprehensive approach to move Minnesota from worst to first in employment equity.