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Minority, Female Hiring Goals Exceeded on New Vikings Stadium; Union Recruiting Gives Boost

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When the hiring goals were set for women and minorities working on Minneapolis’ new US Bank Stadium, people thought they were lofty. Some even called them unachieveable.  Yet new numbers show the goals have not only been met, they’ve been exceeded. New opportunities abound and barriers are breaking down.

Minnesota Public Radio highlighted Mortenson Construction, the company building the mammoth stadium, and how it has partnered with unions and other groups in the region to ensure the goals were met.  

22 months after the stadium’s groundbreaking, with as many as 1,400 workers on the site during the summer peak, nearly two out of five workers on the project are minorities and one out of ten are women.  As Alex Tittle, Equity Director for the Minnesota Stadium Facilities Authority, reported to MPR: “Against a 32 percent goal, we’re sitting at 37 percent minority.  Women, we are at 9 percent, against a 6 percent goal.”

State Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey argues that long-term skills training with respect to the state’s demographics are important to cease upon:

“When we take a look at the sheer number of average working adults, just the sheer number of folks that are available are going to be coming from African-American communities, Latino communities, Native American communities, Asian-American communities.”

This change in both demographics and attitudes has helped diversify local unions, too.  Ironworkers Local 512 members recently spent $4 million of their own earnings on a new training center in St. Paul.  Barry Davies, Business Manager of the local, told MPR that over the last five years the minority makeup of apprenticeship classes has regularly topped 25 percent:

“We just kind of changed the way we were recruiting.  We used to do schools and different job fairs and stuff. We reached out to different groups, like the Progressive Baptist Church in St. Paul. We had a couple job fairs there. We worked with the Urban League.”

More important than making sure goals are met for press releases is the establishment of a pipeline to middle class careers for people from all walks of life. The ambitious goals have succesfully moved the goal posts for future projects. Minorities and women should not only demand, but expect crucial roles on projects of this size. 

“There’s nobody sitting on a bucket,” Lynn Littlejohn, director of community affairs for Mortenson, told MPR.  “There’s nobody just out here holding a sign or whatever. They’re all doing the work that needs to be done, in every discipline and every trade, to build this stadium.”


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