Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bill would set aside stimulus funds to train women, minorities-NJ

By Andrew Kitchenman


A proposed state law setting rules for how federal stimulus funds will be spent includes provisions to encourage that women and minorities receive construction work and job training.

The bill, S-3107, is up for approval by the Senate State Government Committee on Jan. 4, and sets out standards required by Gov. Jon S. Corzine in an Aug. 28 executive order that set goals for hiring minorities and women for construction contracts.

The measure requires the state Treasury Department’s Contract Compliance and Audit Unit to determine whether minorities and women “have been offered a fair opportunity for employment” on state contracts.

In addition, the state will check whether businesses receiving contracts of at least $1 million set aside 0.5 percent of the amount for construction job training for minorities and women.

The bill also requires all construction contracts receiving state funds include affirmative-action contract language, requiring contractors “to make a good faith effort to recruit and employ minorities and women.” The state could withhold funds from contractors that fail to demonstrate the effort was made.

The bill also sets out requirements for the stimulus law, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It mandates that federally funded contracts be posted on the state job bank at least 14 days before hiring starts. Notices also must be sent to the state Division of Minority and Women Business Development.

If the bill is passed, officials would have 90 days to prepare a guide identifying the management practices with the best success in attracting small and women- and minority-owned businesses to apply for state contracts

State Sens. Ronald L. Rice (D-Newark) and Richard J. Codey (D-West Orange) are the bill’s primary sponsors.


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