Will Central Corridor be jobs machine for women/minorities?

Gilbert Odonkor owns YAW Construction, one of the Central Corridor's minority-owned contractors. He says his business doesn't solely depend on set-asides, but he favors the program to help others get work.

Before you know the job is done and there were no minorities on it, so I think holding the generals to a higher standard helps everybody.

The whole Central Corridor project is expected to cost $957 million, creating 3,000 construction jobs over four years of work.

Those are the rough parameters of the Central Corridor light rail project, the 11-mile rail line from downtown St. Paul to downtown Minneapolis. The Metropolitan Council hopes to finish construction by 2014.

The Met Council's goal - they admit it's a stretch goal - is to have the five prime contractors subcontract up to fifteen percent of the value of the work to women and minority owned companies. Already, more than 60 of them have been hired for various jobs.

Minnesota does not have a commendable history of women and minority hiring on transportation projects. Officials have committed to changing that and the Central Corridor project will be the biggest and most ambitious test.

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