Press Release

 

For Immediate Release: JANUARY 21, 2014

State Capitol Contractor exceeding State workforce goals through community partnerships

Contractor JE Dunn employs 34% minorities, 21% females on State Capitol interior project

ST. PAUL, MN – The Minnesota State Capitol interior restoration and preservation project is exceeding diversity workforce goals with 34.89 percent minority workforce hours and 21 percent female workforce hours earning the project a premium rating of 1 from the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.

This marks the first time JE Dunn earned a premium rating of 1, which means the contractor is meeting or exceeding workforce goals, for its efforts to recruit, hire and retain a diverse workforce, and the comprehensive good faith efforts the company implemented on the project. Through its efforts, JE Dunn exceeded Minnesota’s 2012 workforce goals for Hennepin and Ramsey counties, which are 32 percent minority and 6 percent female. Good faith efforts are specific actions a contractor takes to enhance its participation of women and minorities.

“JE Dunn is implementing strategies that are improving the diversity of its workforce,” said Commissioner Kevin Lindsey. “JE Dunn has made a laudable turnaround in their workforce inclusion performance and this deserves to be highlighted.

“Contractors such as JE Dunn are developing best practices that not only strengthen and improve Minnesota’s workforce for today, it is also cultivating Minnesota workers for tomorrow’s diverse workforce,” he said.

In March 2013, JE Dunn received a 4 rating, which means the contractor failed to meet good faith efforts, for failing to meet its good faith efforts or its workforce goals on the State Capitol exterior project. The restoration of the Minnesota State Capitol is overseen by the Minnesota Department of Administration.

“The Minnesota State Capitol belongs to all Minnesotans and the workforce restoring this landmark should be reflective of the state’s citizens,” said Spencer Cronk, Commissioner of the Department of Administration. “We applaud JE Dunn’s commitment to recruiting a project team embracing Minnesota’s diversity.”

After several meetings with Human Rights representatives, JE Dunn developed a work plan, hired Diversity Manager Christa Seaberg and implemented trainings and strategies designed to increase diversity. The plan involved concerted efforts and commitments by the entire project team and JE Dunn’s subcontractors. JE Dunn also partnered with Job Connect and the unions to help the company recruit women and minorities.

Building the diversity of Minnesota’s workforce

JE Dunn and other companies are implementing several strategies to diversify its workforce and either meet or exceed workforce goals:

  • Improved business practices – Contractors that work closely with their subcontractors and monitor workforce participation levels ensure that subcontractors are meeting their obligations. JE Dunn developed Good Faith Efforts training with input from MDHR for its subcontractors on the State Capital Projects. Every subcontractor on these projects are required to go through this training.
  • Community partnerships to train future workers – Contractors that work closely with community organizations, unions and the building trades councils, particularly the Minneapolis Building Trades Councils, are helping to diversify its workforce for today and tomorrow.
    • Under Construction Program – JE Dunn participates in the Under Construction Program in St. Paul that exposes female and minority high school students to the Construction industry. Students are hired by companies to work on a project and get hands on learning in construction trades. For the State Capital interior work project, JE Dunn hired, as an apprentice, a minority male graduate.
    • The Construction Career Expo in October provided training, community networking opportunities, construction project information and trade career information to people interested in a construction career and work opportunities. The event was organized by contractors, unions, and community organizations including JE Dunn. The next Construction Career Expo is scheduled for March.
  • Construct Tomorrow is an initiative sponsored by the Apprenticeship Coordinators Association of Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry and the Associated General Contractors of America. It is designed to give youth, particularly minorities and females, hands-on experience in the construction industry trades. The success of this effort requires sponsorship and commitment by construction companies such as JE Dunn, who participated in the Construct Tomorrow event at Humboldt High School in October 2013. JE Dunn Diversity Manager Seaberg and Mary DesJarlais of the Department of Labor and Industry have been instrumental in the initiative’s success.

“This has been a dramatic turnaround,” Commissioner Lindsey concluded. “JE Dunn has put together a plan in which they are working with the community, and as a result they are seeing tremendous success with their workforce participation.”

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Contact: Jeff Holman at 651.539.1090 or Jeff.holman@state.mn.us

Minnesota Department of Human Rights, Communications Department Freeman Building, 625 Robert Street North, Saint Paul, MN 55155

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