HIRE Minnesota Updates on SWLRT Hearing

Last week the Met Council and Hennepin County held a public hearing to give an opportunity for communities to share their thoughts on the Southwest Light Rail (SWLRT). HIRE Minnesota and 30 allied partners working to ensure that the communities’ voice are at the front of these discussions, made the case to the Met Council and Hennepin County that SWLRT should not only be built but should be built with equity in mind.

Prior to the hearing, we participated in a press conference attended by over fifty people including Hennepin County Commissioners and Met Council members. Reverend Jerry McAfee and Louis King laid out one of the most important equity issues for SWLRT – jobs. They discussed the need to increase hiring goals on construction and called for more training opportunities so that people of color are ready for these jobs. But they also mentioned the importance of expanding the jobs focus to other professions and talked about the need to partner with businesses to connect workers to job centers along the SWLRT line.

The ideas that we presented are not new. Communities have been developing solutions to the problems that they face for years and have made sure that their needs are front and center as new development projects arise. We have seen great success on other projects such as on the Green Line – a project that secured three missing stops and also met its hiring goals for people of color because the community was there. We’re going to keep building on these successes and pushing for commitments from Hennepin County and the Met Council to ensure that SWLRT is an equity train.