More women and minorities on Minnesota road projects?

Maybe. At least there’s a plan in place. That’s the outcome of nearly two years of talks. Almost one hundred people representing women, minorities, unions, contractors and the Minnesota Department of Transportation met each month.

They delivered the outcome recently. The rub was MnDOT repeatedly failed to attain federal goals for hiring women and minorities for road and bridge projects. It’s a goal not a quota. The rule is the agency and contractors must make a good faith effort to subcontract nearly nine percent of a project’s cost to women and minority owned firms.

The hiring goal for individual construction workers in the Twin Cities goal is 11 percent minorities and six percent women.

Sounds doable, but it’s been a tall order finding qualified companies and workers. Most of the prime contractors are white male-owned companies with mostly white male crews.

Protests two years over the inequities prompted lawmakers to direct MnDOT to shape up.

The plan includes a commitment by prime contractors to do more mentoring, an agreement by the state and contractors to make the hiring results more transparent and a vow by the community groups to rustle up more qualified applicants.

Many voices once at each others throats now agree there’s a much more cooperative tone. The proof is in the results.

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