The Minnesota Human Rights Department (MDHR) supports workforce development initiatives as they are critical for creating career pathways into the construction industry for individuals who have had limited exposure and opportunities to enter non-traditional industries, such as women and people of color. Workforce development initiatives are also important as they help contractors to have sufficient workforce to meet employment participation goals. Union training programs, community organizations and agencies such as the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and the Met Council have established workforce development programs.
Workforce goals are the employment participation goals for women and people of color set by MDHR for state-funded construction projects over $100,000 issued by State agencies/departments, including the Metropolitan Council. Workforce goals are set for the metropolitan area and the regional areas in Minnesota. These goals are expressed as percentages of the total hours of employment and training of women and people of color working on a project. The employment participation goals for SWLRT civil construction are 20% for women and 32% for people of color. The 32% goal includes women and men who are people of color.
MDHR reviews employment goals and timetables for submitting required reports and documentation. MDHR also reviews the contractor’s adherence to its Affirmative Action (AA) Plan; the Equal Employment Clause in its State-funded construction project, its employment practices and its Good Faith Efforts to implement the commitments made in its AA Plan and meet the workforce goals.
It is important to review the totality of a contractor’s efforts in meeting goals and timetables and in implementing its AA Plan in order to get an accurate and fair assessment of its compliance with the MHRA and the administrative rules. For example, a contractor may be meeting the employment goals on a project, and its timetables for submitting reports and information, but may have employment practices that violate the MHRA, which result in discrimination complaints against it.
The SWLRT civil contractor’s role with respect to workforce goals is to ensure all entities working on the project are making Good Faith Efforts to meet the goals and submitting timely reports and information. The contractor is also responsible for maintaining a working environment that is non-discriminatory and harassment-free on the project.
MDHR’s responsibilities include ensuring the contractor is meeting the timelines for submitting workforce reports and making Good Faith Efforts to meet the goals. The Department will meet regularly with the contractor and the subcontractors throughout the project to ensure compliance with the goals, their Affirmative Action Plan and the Minnesota Human Rights Act. The Department will conduct On-Site Project Reviews during the life of the project and interview the workers as well as the contractor, and provide technical assistance as requested.
For more information on the Minnesota Department of Human Rights role in the Southwest LRT project, please contact: