RIGHTS BLOG: Updates from the Department of Human Rights

Diverse Construction Workforce Celebrates ‘Topping Out’

Posted on 9/28/15

Diverse construction workforce unites

Diverse construction workforce unites to celebrate Structural Steel ‘Topping Out’ of U.S. Bank Stadium.

ST. PAUL, MN –Minnesota Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey recently visited the U.S. Bank Stadium construction site for the Structural Steel ‘Topping Out’ ceremony on Sept. 17, 2015. Enforcement Officers with the Department’s Contract Compliance division routinely visit the construction site to monitor and enforce the Department’s equal employment opportunity program.

With over 1.9 million total labor hours worked as of July 2015, 37 percent of those hours were worked by minorities and 9 percent by women. By applying best practices in recruitment, hiring and retention of workers, prime contractor Mortenson Construction is currently exceeding the Department’s workforce inclusion goals of 32 percent for people of color and 6 percent for women on the U.S. Bank Stadium project.

MDHR Commissioner Kevin Lindsey partners with state contractors

MDHR Commissioner Kevin Lindsey partners with state contractors on the U.S. Bank Stadium to ensure the project meets workforce diversity goals.

As we become more racially and ethnically diverse as a state, the innovative human resources practices, which contribute to the attainment of workforce diversity goals, are becoming increasingly important in ensuring that all of the State’s contractors provide meaningful employment opportunities to citizens in the state of Minnesota. Applying these best practices also ensure that businesses have the labor they need going forward. Businesses that seize this opportunity to develop best practices to attract, recruit and retain a diverse workforce will position themselves for success in the future and have a competitive advantage.

Accessibility at the Minnesota State Fair

Posted on 9/4/15

ST. PAUL, MN – In an August 31 column titled “Disability access at the State Fair makes some strides," Star Tribune writer Jon Tevlin looked at improvements made to improve disability access at the Minnesota State Fair grounds. After last year’s Fair, the Department of Human Rights worked with the Minnesota State Council on Disability (MSCOD), disability advocates and representatives from the State Fair to address disability access issues that had been raised by the community. As a hugely popular Minnesota institution, the Fair welcomes individuals with a range of access needs who wish to attend.

accessible parking spaceTogether, the stakeholders identified areas of concern and possible solutions to improve access for all people wishing to attend the State Fair. Immediate improvements included additional accessible parking and places to rest in the Fair’s Transit Hub area. The State Fair continues its multi-year plans for upgrading restrooms to increase accessibility for both families and people with disabilities. Other long-range plans include more curb cuts and picnic tables with room for wheelchairs or scooters. The State Fair is also working with bus companies that have Fair contracts to provide more accessible buses for those who use the park-and-ride lots; and with vendors to improve access to buildings that are not owned by the Fair.

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights strives to make Minnesota a more inclusive place for all people in the state. Working with MSCOD and the State Fair is an example of how proactive engagement and dialogue can lead to better access to a Minnesota institution for more people. This model of bringing together stakeholders, technical experts, and community members with the Department acting as conveners is a model that can help to minimize conflict, encourage dialogue and create avenues to mutually beneficial solutions; so we can all eat more mini donuts, corndogs and chocolate chip cookies.