Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Turner awards record $1.4B to MWBEs

Tuesday, March 10, 2009, 11:31am EDT
Turner awards record $1.4B to MWBEs
Orlando Business Journal

Turner Construction Co. broke another company record last year in awarding contracts to businesses owned by minorities and women.

The New York-based general contractor, which has had an office in Orlando since 1984, awarded a record 2,850 contracts totaling $1.4 billion to minority- and women-owned businesses in 2008.

This is the fourth year in a row that Turner Construction has given more than $1 billion worth of contracts to minority- and women-owned enterprises, according to a news release.

“Our long-standing record of achievement in expanding economic opportunities for minority and women-owned contractors across the country is critical to the success of Turner and of our industry,” said Hilton Smith, senior vice president of community affairs, in a prepared statement.

Turner Construction is one of the leading general builders in the United States. The firm, which completed $9.6 billion in construction projects in 2007, is a subsidiary of German construction company Hochtief (FWB: HOT).


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Round 3 Hampton, VA: Minority contractors faring worse since Hampton disparity study in 2006

Earlier articles:



Minority contractors faring worse since Hampton disparity study in 2006
By Matthew Sturdevant 247-7874
March 8, 2009

HAMPTON - — Minority-owned businesses have received a smaller and smaller percentage of city contracts in recent years, even after a report was released in January 2006 with recommendations on how to even out the disparity.

Hampton hired a consultant five years ago to analyze trends in city purchasing and procurement during the four-year period between fiscal years 1999 and 2003. The report revealed that Hampton's spending of taxpayer funds mostly left out minority-owned and women-owned businesses, which were a small fraction of companies available to do business.

For example, black-owned construction companies accounted for 4.38 percent of all prime contractors in the area, and received 1.05 percent of Hampton's construction spending for prime contractors during the four-year period.

Since the report came out, minority-owned businesses have fared worse, not better.

The percentage of Hampton's spending with minority-owned businesses decreased each year since fiscal year 2006. Businesses owned by blacks, Hispanics, Asian-Americans and other minorities received 1.63 percent of Hampton's spending in fiscal year 2008, which ended June 30. The city's record of spending with women-owned businesses fluctuated in recent years — as low as 1.11 percent in fiscal year 2005 and as high as 3.89 percent in 2007.

Even though the numbers reflect an under-representation of minorities and women, few of the business leaders who were interviewed for the disparity study — 6 percent of those surveyed — believed that discrimination was a factor.

Hampton's record of doing business with minority- and women-owned companies was better than the commonwealth of Virginia's by most measures, according to the disparity study. However, Hampton trailed in most categories behind other cities it was compared to in the study, including Charlotte, N.C.; Tallahassee, Fla.; Orange County, Fla.; and Columbia, S.C.

Sometime soon, likely in April, the City Council will hear a new round of recommendations from Jessica R. Spencer, the Economic Development Department's minority business coordinator, and from the Finance Department's procurement office.

Spencer is relatively new to the job. She was hired last year. She has 14 years experience and was director of the Business Opportunity Workforce Development Center for the Virginia Department of Transportation.

What aren't new are Hampton's efforts to improve representation by minority- and women-owned businesses. The city has had a Small and Minority Business Loan program since 1986 and a nondiscrimination ordinance since 1991.

The disparity report that came out a few years ago commended the city for having programs that make loan money available for small businesses and businesses owned by woman or minorities. The report also commended Hampton for "providing management and technical assistance through its support for local (business) incubators."

Hampton's efforts to help build minority businesses have had some success. Recently, the Economic Development Department welcomed three businesses owned by minority women: Java Junkies coffee shop at 768 Settlers Landing Road in downtown; KingsWay Physical Therapy at 208 Fox Hill Road, Suite B; and Soapalooza, a homemade soap shop at 3411 Old Armistead Ave.

The city also faces challenges in improving its record with minority businesses, which Spencer will explain in detail during a City Council workshop.

The real problem is the people who implement city policy, said Rudy Langford, president of the Coalition for Justice for Civil Rights, about the contract percentages.

"It's favoritism ... recommendations ain't worth a dime," he said.

On the other hand, former Councilman Charles Sapp, who is director of management services at REMSA, a minority woman-owned firm in Hampton, said he believes the low number of city contracts that go to minority- and women-owned businesses is not discrimination, but a problem with the city's process of soliciting bids and development proposals.

"That's an area we need to investigate — the processes and policies which raise barriers to small business," Sapp said.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Unemployed Young Women Obtain Carpentry Training -VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA

Unemployed Young Women Obtain Carpentry Training and Tools for Life at the RONA Vancouver 2010 Fabrication Shop
YWCA-referred trainees earn job skills while helping build Canada's Games

updated 12:00 p.m. CT, Thurs., March. 5, 2009

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - RONA inc. (TSX: RON), the largest Canadian retailer and distributor of hardware, renovation and gardening products, is celebrating the arrival of a cohort of YWCA-referred women trainees at the RONA Vancouver 2010 Fabrication (Fab) Shop, the woodworking facility for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, located in Vancouver's inner city.

The 16 young women, beyond school age and having experienced significant barriers to employment, will receive 30 weeks of apprenticeship training from accredited BC Red Seal carpenters. During time spent at the Fab Shop they will benefit from employment workshops and job search support as well as personal life-skills coaching. Participants receive support such as equipment as well as assistance with housing and industry wages during their work experience at the Fab Shop, where they build some of the 8,000 wood objects to be used during the 2010 Winter Games, including podiums, risers, stanchions and signage.

"As a National Partner of Vancouver 2010, RONA is committed to the creation of grassroots programs right where the Games are held, so that local communities can also enjoy their benefits," said Christian Proulx, RONA Senior Vice President, People and Culture. "Just in time for International Women's Day, the group of women training at the Fab Shop helps remind us of the importance of value-added education projects for individuals needing help to build new lives for themselves and the next generation. This is perfectly aligned with our values and commitment to sustainability, and mirrors projects taken on by RONA and the RONA Foundation across the country. As a home improvement retailer, we're also very proud to see young women choosing a non-traditional career path, and showing a passion for carpentry and the construction industry."

"YWCA Vancouver is delighted to be partnering with the RONA Fab Shop for this wonderful project," said Janet Austin, CEO of YWCA Vancouver. "This program provides a unique opportunity for young women to gain skills to build a successful career that will set them on the path to economic independence. While moving forward in their own lives, they will also serve as role models for other young women who are looking to enter the trades."

The Fab Shop was launched in November 2007, when RONA and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) initiated a partnership with government funding partners and community organizations. The program is certified by the Industry Training Authority (ITA), the agency overseeing British Columbia's industry training and apprenticeship system. The program for this cohort is partially funded by both the ITA and Skills Link, a program of Service Canada. To date, Fab Shop recruits have assembled over 2,000 wood items, including a luge sled box, rifle lock-ups, sled hockey shelves, mascot stands and a bobsled podium.

"We're inspired every day by the Fab Shop carpentry trainees who have chosen to make such a big change in their lives," said Donna Wilson, Executive Vice President, People and Sustainability, VANOC. "VANOC's requirement to produce wood products for the Games was an excellent opportunity to offer trades training. We couldn't do this alone, of course, and we salute RONA's strong commitment to the success of the Fab Shop. It is a unique and powerful collaboration between industry, government and community."

The young women are the third group to undertake carpentry training at the Fab Shop. Previous cohorts were composed of underserved urban youth and urban Aboriginal adults, all facing significant obstacles, including limited employment and life skills, financial difficulties and inadequate housing. By the time the Games begin in 2010, a fourth and last group of recruits will have undertaken training at the Fab Shop, for a total of 64 participants.

The RONA Foundation

RONA, through the RONA Foundation, has been a long-time partner of YWCA Vancouver. It is YWCA Vancouver's Emma's Early Learning and Care Centre, a centre where teenage mothers from the Vancouver area are supported to complete their education and develop parenting skills that first brought the two organizations together. Created in 1998, the RONA Foundation helps young people achieve their potential and take their rightful place in the workforce by providing financial assistance to community programs including those fighting early school dropout; training initiatives; scholarships helping underprivileged students learn a trade; on-the-job training and other employment projects for disadvantaged youth. Over the past 10 years, the RONA Foundation has donated more than $2M to various charitable organizations.

About RONA

RONA is the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, home renovation and gardening products. RONA operates a network of close to 700 franchise, affiliate and corporate stores of various sizes and formats. With close to 30,000 employees working under its family of banners in every region of Canada and more than 15 million square feet of retail space, the RONA store network generates over $6.3 billion in annual retail sales. Visit www.rona.ca.

About YWCA Vancouver

YWCA Vancouver is a registered charity, providing a range of integrated services for women and their families, and those seeking to improve the quality of their lives. From early learning and care to housing, health and fitness, employment services and leadership, YWCA Vancouver touches lives in communities throughout Metro Vancouver. Visit www.ywcavan.org.

Eva Boucher-Hartling
Director, External Communications
514-599-5114 / Cell.: 514-237-8738

Financial Community:
Stephane Milot
Senior Director, Investor Relations


Carpenters Recruit Apprentices, Local 289-CHEEKTOWAGA, NY

News from New York State Department of Labor

For more information contact: Tracy Falasco, 518-457-9000

Carpenters Recruit Apprentices

CHEEKTOWAGA, NY (03/04/2009; 1138)(readMedia)-- The Empire State Regional Council of Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee, Local 289, will conduct recruitment from March 3, 2009 through March 2, 2010 for 10 carpenter apprentices, the State Labor Department announced today.

Applications will be available at the Local, (Zone A - 1159 Maryvale Drive, Cheektowaga) and (Zone B - Trott Access Center, Worksource One Center, Portage Road & 11th Street, Niagara Falls) from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., the first Tuesday of each month during the recruitment period.

The committee requires that applicants:

Be at least 18 years old - proof required at time of employment by signed statement submitted at time of application.
Have a high school or general equivalency diploma as recognized by the New York State Department of Education - proof required at time of employment by signed statement submitted at time of application.
Sign an affidavit stating they are physically able to do the work.
Have lived within the local's geographic jurisdiction for at least six months prior to the date of application - (Zone A - Erie County and Zone B - Niagara, Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties.
Must take a drug test at the sponsor's expense given at time of employment.
Must have reliable transportation to and from work and school by a signed statement submitted at time of application.
Must be willing to attend school in Rochester.
Each eligible applicant will have to participate in an interview.
For further information, applicants should contact the New York State Department of Labor office located nearest their home or the sponsor at 716-632-3080.

Apprentice programs registered with the Department of Labor must meet standards established by the Commissioner. Under state law, sponsors of programs cannot discriminate against applicants because of race, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, disability or marital status. Women and minorities are encouraged to submit applications for apprenticeship programs. Sponsors of programs are required to adopt affirmative action plans for the recruitment of women and minorities.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

First Woman-Run Transportation Construction Project Ahead of Schedule

Posted: Feb 26, 2009 07:29 PM CST

Updated: March 2, 2009 11:01 AM CST

SEE VIDEO: Women in Top Construction Jobs, ALL WOMEN MANAGEMENT TEAM

Nampa, Idaho -- The Franklin Bridge is a first for Idaho, a transportation construction project being led by women. On site, Kadee Porter is the project manager overseeing demolition, road widening and rebuilding.

"The best part of my job is seeing something get built from the ground up. Something that's going to benefit the public. Something that's going to stand for many, many years," said Porter.

She's part of a small minority of women working in the top levels of construction, where females typically make up less than 10 percent of the entire industry's workforce.

"I enjoy working outside. I love being out in the elements. I can handle the cold, the heat. I'm tough," said Porter.

And she's not alone. Jamee Coonce oversees the entire bridge project for the Idaho Transportation Department.

"It's not all math and science. It's fun. You do interact, you get to see what happens in the field, what happens on paper," said Coonce.

The project manager handling design is also a female. Creating a once in a lifetime opportunity for these pros who normally work mainly with men.

"Having the project management part of this project, from the ground up, led by women is unique because there are so few women," said Coonce.

The group hopes this is just the first of many woman-run projects and others will realize they can do it too.

"The word should get out that these career possibilities exist for women out there," said June Sparks, ITD's spokesperson.

With stimulus money flowing into Idaho, these leader's goal is to get the word out and see others like themselves join all the men who are lining up to take the new jobs that will be created.

"You know there's opportunities for women in all aspects of this field. Anything a woman's interested in, there's a job for her," said Porter.

The Franklin Bridge project is currently running three months ahead of schedule, which is very unusual.

The Idaho Transportation Department considers itself a very progressive agency. On its website, there are numerous tools aimed at helping more women get involved in its work, such as scholarships that make it possible to go back to school for an engineering degree.


Lowe's sponsors National Women Build Week

Lowe's Pledges $20 Million to Habitat For Humanity International

ATLANTA -- Habitat for Humanity International announced last week that Lowe's is extending its ongoing commitment to Habitat's affordable-housing work across the country with a new five-year, $20 million commitment.

"We realize our help in building affordable housing and promoting safe, secure communities is more relevant than ever," said Robert A. Niblock, Lowe's chairman and CEO. "As an organization committed to improving the communities we call home, we believe that extending our partnership with Habitat for Humanity will help these communities continue to address the tremendous need for affordable housing."

Lowe's new commitment to Habitat through 2013 will bring the company's aggregate Habitat contributions since 2003 to nearly $40 million. With the renewed commitment, Lowe's will continue to underwrite Habitat's Women Build program, a national volunteer movement encouraging women to learn construction skills and make a difference by building homes and helping to end poverty housing. This includes sponsorship of "National Women Build Week," a nationwide homebuilding initiative leading up to Mother's Day, and funding for a variety of build projects across the country.

Through 2008, Lowe's has supported nearly 1,500 Habitat houses built or renovated in the United States with grants ranging in size from $1,000 to $50,000. Additionally, Lowe's is one of Habitat's largest disaster-relief donors, contributing nearly $3 million domestically to Gulf Coast Recovery and internationally to Habitat's Asian Tsunami recovery effort.

Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International, emphasized that the effects of Lowe's support go beyond the funding contributed and houses built.

"The generous contributions of our partners have a financial impact that goes well beyond the construction and renovation of homes," Reckford said. "Every time Lowe's helps Habitat—with funding or by sharing their expertise at an in-store clinic or through countless employee volunteer hours on the build site—those efforts create a ripple effect that is felt throughout the entire local community. New construction always inspires hope. Lowe's generosity will bless untold numbers of people, especially during these difficult times."


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