Stadium officials set hiring goals for minorities, women

Officials working on the new Minnesota Vikings stadium have laid out a plan to make minority workers nearly a third of the labor force and to hire 6 percent women.

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority adopted the plan on Friday. Chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen said that the targets will be a challenge to meet and that there aren't likely to be enough skilled workers in Minnesota to make the goal.

But she also said the state wants to avoid importing workers or companies to meet hiring goals.

"That clearly was not the intention of the governor or the Legislature when they put this together," she said. "It's about Minnesota jobs. So we need to meet any of these targeted goals within the Minnesota companies and Minnesota workforce."

The Legislature included a 32 percent minority workforce goal in the stadium legislation signed by Gov. Mark Dayton this spring. It also included a goal to have women as 6 percent of the workforce.

Stadium officials say they are encouraging training programs to start preparing more workers for construction jobs.

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The Vikings and stadium design officials also say they think a compromise is near to accommodate amateur baseball in the new facility.

College baseball coaches and the Vikings have been at odds over some of the dimensions of the stadium. The Vikings want seats as close to the football field as possible. But coaches say the proximity could make the open field area too small for amateur baseball, which was counting on the stadium for off-season use.

"We continue to work on it, and I'm convinced we will have a design solution, Kelm-Helgen said. "We actually are getting very close. We should have something we can talk about within a week."

The stadium authority and the Vikings are scheduled to pick a stadium builder as soon as next week. An initial design for the stadium, possibly including a retractable roof, is scheduled to be unveiled this spring.