May 10, 2011
By Laura Baenan, Metropolitan Council
Central Corridor LRTWorks is a notification service for people interested in learning about construction employment opportunities on the Central Corridor Light Rail Project. CCLRTWorks emerged from a January 2010 community retreat attended by community, employment and small business stakeholders and hosted by the Metropolitan Council's Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity. The Central Corridor Funders Collaborative funded CCLRTWorks to support the inclusion of people of color and women in the construction of the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit line.
One aspect of CCLRTWorks is LRTWORKS.org, an online employment candidate sourcing tool for the construction contractors building the Central Corridor LRT line. LRTWORKS.org is designed to aid contractors in finding skilled workers to help them meet workforce goals of 18 percent for minorities and 6 percent for women.
Here’s how it works:
- Job seekers register their skills, such as sheet metal working, with LRTWORKS.org
- Contractors search LRTWORKS.org when they need workers trained in specific fields
- Contractors provide the Met Council with feedback on their hiring decisions for the candidates identified via LRTWORKS.org
LRTWORKS.org also is intended to provide a realistic picture of how many skilled female construction workers and construction workers of color are in the region and help contractors find skilled workers who may not be represented by any unions. The Met Council’s Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity kicked off its CCLRTWorks campaign with the launch of LRTWORKS.org. The launch resulted in 400 plus people logging on and registering on its first day. The Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity continues to encourage interested workers to register at LRTWORKS.org, with more than 1,000 people registering to date.
To ensure the construction trades are fed by future generations, LRTWORKS.org was also built to expose youth to the trade unions for information on the construction field. This effort was reinforced by a four-day event for about 135 high school students who met with trade union representatives to discuss transit construction opportunities.
Other CCLRTWorks initiatives include the production of CCLRT employment opportunity outreach materials, engaging construction training non-profits, training CCLRT contractors on utilizing LRTWORKS.org, exposing youth to the myriad of opportunities in the transit construction field, securing project labor by craft needs, targeting underrepresented groups and convening regular meetings of the community members, small businesses and CCLRT contractors.
Besides registering their skills with the database, job seekers are encouraged to contact the construction contractors directly, and their contact information is available at LRTWORKS.org under the Contractor Contact Information. The prime construction contractors include:
- Aldridge/Egan Joint Venture – Building the line’s traction power substations and overhead contact system
- Ames/McCrossan Joint Venture – Constructing the line’s western three miles
- PCL Construction Services – Converting a vacant warehouse into the operations and maintenance facility
- Walsh Construction – Constructing the line’s eastern seven miles