(Thursday, June 3, 2021) – I am submitting legislation to further increase the City’s construction workforce goals. I want to make sure more City spending on roads, buildings and other infrastructure goes toward Minority and Women Owned Enterprises (MWBEs) and people of color.
It is my hope and purpose to achieve equity by providing more and better job opportunities for women and minorities. Continuously raising our standards ensures that Black- Brown- and women-owned businesses have a fair chance at winning public projects and allows them to provide well-paying jobs and opportunities to create generational wealth for families.
In 2018, we increased the City’s MWBE spending goals from 20 to 30 percent in the following areas: public works construction, public works consulting, professional services consulting and commodities. The City went from spending $6 million on minority and women businesses to $27 million in the first two years. That’s an increase of over 300 percent!
In addition, in 2018 the City established specific workforce (those who actually work on projects) goals. Right now, Rochester is exceeding its current requirement of 26 percent of minority and/or women workers for all public works projects. Last year, 42 percent of all workers on City projects were minorities and/or women – 23.6 percent female and 18.7 percent minority. Building on this achievement, I am proposing to raise the workforce standards from 20 to 30 percent for minorities and 6.9 percent to 10 percent for women. We’ve proven that if we raise the bar, contractors can meet the expectations set. The proposed increase also supports the RASE Commission report recommendations to expand workforce development goals.
These proposals, which I plan to submit to City Council in July, would help expand apprenticeship opportunities and we’re planning to host a labor summit with local trade unions asking them to increase apprenticeship opportunities by 10 percent. I am also proposing to raise the bidding cap from $250,000 to $1 million, providing additional access for minority/women, small and mid-sized businesses to compete for City contracts. This opens up more avenues for MWBE spending because it provides more contracting opportunities to these companies, as well as opportunities for minority and women-owned firms to hire a diverse workforce.