Central Corridor project solicits minorities for workforce

Best Steakhouse
The Best Steakhouse, at the corner of University Ave. and Victoria St. in St. Paul. The new Central Corridor light rail line will run along University Ave., causing concern among some of the businesses and residents in the area.
MPR file photo/Melanie Sommer

The Metropolitan Council is holding a pair of employment workshops Wednesday to encourage women and minorities to apply for job opportunities on the Central Corridor light rail transit project.

The sessions will explain how firms can become certified as disadvantaged businesses. They'll also provide information on future construction bid packages for the project, which will link St. Paul to Minneapolis via light rail.

The Metropolitan Council and five community groups are sponsoring the sessions. The council has held four similar workshops this year targeting different groups.

The Central Corridor project has a goal of steering 18 percent of its workforce hours to minorities, and six percent to women.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has fallen short of its minority hiring goals and just recently adjusted its goal for next year. Nathaniel Khaliq of the St. Paul office of the National Associated for the Advancement of Colored People says today's workshops are a step in the right direction.

"One of the excuses has been that they just haven't been able to reach the communities of color," Khaliq said. "Hopefully, this will remove that excuse from being used in the future."

The two sessions will run 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. at the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center in St. Paul.

Construction is expected to begin next summer.

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