Sep. 7, 2016

Four years after the creation of US Bank Stadium’s Equity Plan, the construction of the stadium is finally complete. Critics said that a workforce of 32 percent people of color could never be achieved. However, with the help of partners throughout the construction of the stadium, the percentage of hours worked by people of color at the completion of the stadium surpassed 36 percent, translating into an estimated $39 million in wages for people of color!

So, how did we do it?

  • Increased transparency and accountability through regular public meetings.
  • Provided uniform workforce reporting tools on workers by trade, race/ethnicity, gender, and zip code.
  • Created innovative, community-led, Employment Assistance Firm (EAF).
  • Worked with contractors to predict future employment needs.
  • Worked with nonprofit programs to train workers for predicted skill needs.
  • Advocated for strong workforce oversight of nearby subsidized construction projects.

Learn more from our info graphic below:

Hire Flyer 2016 NEW-page-002

Jun. 12, 2014

Mission accomplished! Over three years ago we set out to ensure that people of color were hired to build the Central Corridor Light Rail, now known as the Green Line. Today we can declare success. As we prepare for the opening of the Green Line this Saturday, June 14, we celebrate the fact that people of color worked nearly 19 percent of the hours it took to build the line and women worked nearly 7 percent.

The newly released “Central Corridor Green Line – DBE and Workforce Study June 2014” reports that building the Green Line created 5,000 construction jobs, generating  $252 million in wages. Another $115 million was paid to participants in the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program, a federal program designed to increase the presence of businesses owned by women and people of color in projects like these.

The work of HIRE Minnesota was instrumental in securing these victories. But we could not have done it without the efforts of other important stakeholders including the Metropolitan Council and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. Wanda Kirkpartick of the Met Council led much of the public sector work in this process. Her partnership and willingness to make sure that the contractors were meeting their hiring goals made this success possible. We would also like to highlight the work of the Ames/McCrossan Joint Venture, which was responsible for the western three miles of the LRT. On their part of the project, people of color worked over 20 percent of the hours. They showed an increasing commitment to racial equity in employment throughout the project.

We must also take a moment to celebrate the process itself. There were many points of necessary tension, but together we built a collaborative approach rooted in transparency and mutual accountability. This is an approach that we look forward to replicating in future investments in job creation.

Oct. 3, 2013

October 3, 2013, was a historic day for the state of Minnesota. Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Equity Manager Alex Tittle made a major announcement: for the first time ever, the state would contract with community-based organizations to ensure a large-scale development would meet its hiring goals for people of color. That development? The $975 million Vikings stadium.

This transformative partnership, called the Employment Assistance Firm (EAF), was the brainchild of HIRE Minnesota as part of the Stadium Equity Plan we advocated for. We knew that community-based organizations understand the assets of and the barriers facing communities of color the best, and were best positioned to help the state and the prime contractors achieve their hiring goals. The state agreed to invest $700,000 in the EAF, which is actually a coalition of 17 organizations representing diverse sectors and communities. Prime contractor Mortenson Construction committed an additional $100,000 to strengthen the coalition’s efforts.

The EAF was an important step in ensuring the state meets hiring goals for women, people of color and veterans. Those goals  increased significantly since the last time a project of this scale was taken on–Mortenson Construction will be expected to hire 32 percent people of color and 6 percent women. The EAF is responsible for conducting outreach and training to ensure those goals are met, developing relationships with the trades to place trainees, and recruiting a pool of trained workers into the project. If the goals are met, this work could secure up to $80 million in wages for people of color based on job-creation projections.

“We are committed to having the people of Minnesota build the ‘People’s Stadium’,” said Louis King, president of Summit Academy OIC and founder of HIRE Minnesota. “We applaud the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority for supporting this process.”

While the creation of the EAF is groundbreaking in itself, HIRE Minnesota believes that hiring outcomes will be most improved because of the strong, long-term relationships being built between community-based groups and other organizations within the construction workforce system. Historically, community groups have received information about hiring performance after a project is completed, when there was no hope of influencing a better outcome. HIRE Minnesota’s goal within this new dynamic is to place women and people of color in construction careers that are operating in a cohesive system, where there’s understanding and accountability among all the responsible parties. This change could allow progress made on the Vikings project to live beyond the stadium, creating a more diverse workforce for future public infrastructure projects in the region.

Feb. 21, 2013

Back in 2010, HIRE Minnesota set out to ensure that the Metropolitan Council achieved its goal for 18 percent of the hours on the Central Corridor LRT project to be completed by people of color.

Over the next several years, we went to meetings. We developed a workforce projection system that allowed contractors to predict workforce gaps so the community could help fill them. We helped the Met Council standardize the contractor’s reports so the community had access to uniform information. We went to more meetings. And more.

And now it’s time to celebrate. As construction winds down, we are thrilled to announce that the actual hiring on the Central Corridor LRT has exceeded goals. People of color worked more than 19 percent of the hours on the project.

The $1 billion Central Corridor LRT project is one of the largest projects in the state ever to achieve its hiring goals for women and people of color. Congratulations to the Met Council, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, Walsh Construction and Ames-McCrossan for proving it can be done. Your example will lead the way as public infrastructure projects move to higher workforce goals for Twin Cities-area projects.

Together, we can move Minnesota from worst to first in hiring equity!

Jan. 31, 2013

Since state hiring goals were established in Minnesota in 1992, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has never met its goal. That didn’t change in 2012.

However, with the help of HIRE Minnesota, the agency is making progress every year. A snapshot of state hiring in 2012 shows that 9.1 percent of construction hours were performed by people of color. That’s an increase of 189 percent since we started advocating for better hiring outcomes back in 2009!

There is still plenty of work to do. Beginning in 2012, the state hiring goal increased from 11 percent in the Twin Cities region to 32 percent in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties and 22 percent in the remainder of the metro area. We’ll be there every step of the way, ensuring that hiring equity is a top priority for MnDOT, the contractors and the unions.