Celebrating Success on the Green Line

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.