For people who want to know how to begin landing a job on the largest public works project in Minnesota history, a mixer is set from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 12 at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 110, 1330 Conway St., in St. Paul. The Metropolitan Council, Ramsey County and JobConnect are among the organizers.
While the event will be set up like a job fair, it is by no means a job fair. It is a networking opportunity for people who are not currently in a union and are interested in a construction career to meet contractors, tradespeople, trade schools and union representatives. Attendees will be able to enter their information into CCLRTWorks, a new email notification service for people interested in learning about training and construction employment opportunities on the project.
Lucas Miller, the project’s new workforce coordinator, will manage the notification service. Miller can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 651602-1842.
The Central Corridor project will provide for 800 direct construction and management jobs annually over the project. Laborers and mechanics on federally assisted construction contracts earn the prevailing wage and fringe benefits. There will be many other ancillary impacts from the project, including the creation of precast and ready-mix concrete jobs, shop labor, etc. These are much more difficult to quantify.
The project’s prime contractors and their subcontractors will do the hiring, and the Met Council will monitor their efforts to meet workforce goals of 18 percent minority and 6 percent women. People interested in construction jobs still must contact the prime contractors. The two companies that have been hired for the heavy construction work are: Walsh Construction for the St. Paul segment of the line and Ames/ McCrossan for the Minneapolis portion.
Meet project’s new workforce coordinator: Lucas Miller
Lucas Miller relies on gentle persuasion to get his job done as the project’s new workforce coordinator.
“My job is to coax the contractors when they are having trouble meeting these workforce goals,” Miller said.
He will do that by giving subcontractors resources to recruit workers, such as CCLRTWorks. It is a new notification service for people interested in construction employment opportunities on the LRT project. Job seekers would enter their trade, contact information and other relevant data, which will get sent to contractors who can search for the trades that they need. “This gets their name in front of a contractor, but it’s like applying for any other job. They still need to do the legwork to get themselves recognized,” Miller said.
The other part of Miller’s job is visiting work sites and reviewing hours worked by minorities and women in contractors’ monthly pay request submittals.
The 18 percent goal for minority workers and the 6 percent goal for women are to be met over the life of the contract. That means Miller’s job is to look ahead and work with contractors to see what construction activities will be taking place and seeing where the hours will be allotted. Minorities and women might be working more in the middle of the project than at the beginning, Miller said.
“We collect their good-faith efforts and any attempts that they have made to recruit minorities and women, whether it be through the unions or CCLRTWorks or other recruiting resources,” he said. This will be important because some trades, such as ironworkers, roofers and welders, have low percentages of women workers. Minorities are better represented in the trades than women, hence the higher goal.
Miller’s background is in construction and construction management. He has a bachelor’s degree in construction management from the University of Minnesota and has been a roofer and framer for residential and small commercial building projects. He interned with Metro Transit as an assistant Metropolitan Council authorized representative, serving as a liaison between stakeholders, engineers, architects and the contractor.
What does he like about his latest job? “The idea of being on the owner’s side versus the contractor’s side is very appealing to me,” Miller said.
Miller works with Roderic Southall, the Met Council Office of Diversity’s lead staffer on the Central Corridor project. Southall handles Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) monitoring and compliance. He can be reached at Roderic.firstname.lastname@example.org
American Indian Business & Employment Workshop for the project was held July 7 at the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Center in Minneapolis. A similar event was held the same month for the Latino-American community.
Community outreach coordinator Joey Browner (above) of the Central Corridor LRT Project speaks with William D. Carter, American Indian community advocate with the city of Minneapolis. Shelly Diaz (top right) of EMERGE, a nonprofit community development agency in Minneapolis, and Mark Daggy (at left in bottom photo) of St. Paul, a member of Local 49 of the Highway Heavy International Union of Operating Engineers, and Thomas Lindstrom of St. Paul, owner and operator of Peltier Welding and Wire Mesh, learn about construction opportunities with the project.
How the Met Council ensures DBE compliance
When prime contractors commit to meet a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) goal, it becomes part of their contract.
The Metropolitan Council contacts the DBE subcontractors on the prime contractors’ lists of DBEs to confirm that they bid and agreed to engage in that scope of work. This shows the Met Council that the DBEs bid to the prime contractor and the prime selected them to perform that scope of work.
The Met Council also makes spot field checks on the contractors’ use of DBEs to ensure they are doing the work that it was reported they would be performing. The Met Council also checks prime contractors’ monthly reports of what they have paid the DBEs, and the Met Council periodically contacts these DBEs for confirmation of the payment amounts.
About the project: The Central Corridor Light Rail Transit Project will link downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis along Washington and University avenues via the state Capitol and the University of Minnesota. Construction began in late summer 2010 on the planned 11-mile Central Corridor line, and service will begin in 2014. The line will connect with the Hiawatha LRT line at the Metrodome station in Minneapolis and the Northstar commuter rail line at the Target Field Station. The Metropolitan Council will be the grantee of federal funds. The regional government agency is charged with building the line in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The Central Corridor Management Committee, which includes commissioners from Ramsey and Hennepin counties, the mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota, provides advice and oversight. Funding is provided by the Federal Transit Administration, Counties Transit Improvement Board, state of Minnesota, regional railroad authorities for Ramsey and Hennepin counties, city of St. Paul, Metropolitan Council and the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative.
Questions or comments? Call 651-602-1645 or email email@example.com
Central Corridor LRT Project