MnDOT grant to help minorities get construction workby Dan Olson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Part of a state grant will be used to help minorities in Minneapolis get highway construction jobs.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation awarded the $150,000 grant to the Minneapolis Urban League.
Minneapolis Urban League CEO Scott Gray said some of the money will be used to bring together construction company owners, union officials and community groups to set a hiring goal for the 2011 construction season. Gray said some of the money will also be used to subsidize training costs.
"If there's training cost, obviously we'll subsidize some of the cost along with the union, but we first have to set up this structure ... to make sure the jobs and training opportunities are going to be there," Gray said.
Gray says both MnDOT and federal transportation officials have expanded their efforts to encourage contractors to hire minorities.
"Companies that lost their commercial share in this economy [are] starting to go after more of these federally-funded projects," he said. "That pretty much puts them at the table where we have to talk about work force opportunities."
Gray said the training program will be modeled after one in Milwaukee.
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