- Twenty five women and minority participants graduated last week from a training program geared to prepare small businesses to submit bids and participate in construction conducted by the general contractor for the $1.5 billion Kansas City Airport terminal project in Kansas City, Missouri, WDAF-TV Kansas City reported.
- The joint venture of Clark Construction Group, The Weitz Co. and Clarkson Construction Co., which are part of the Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate team, offered intensive construction management training to women- and minority-owned construction and management firms as part of a strategic partnership program. Topics included accounting, bonding, blueprint reading, contracts, estimating, purchasing, project management and presentation skills.
- Completing the free six-month program did not guarantee a contract for the airport project, but organizers said it provided the technical training and professional development that will help the participants take on bigger projects and pursue new business opportunities.
The construction management course is part of the community benefits package Edgemoor agreed to when it won the design-build contract for the airport project. In addition to the program, local businesses are also eligible for expedited pay, access to a loan grant program, payment and performance bond support and incubator space.
The Clark-Weitz-Clarkson JV is also providing workforce development opportunities through a pre-apprenticeship program, a general contractors training program, mentoring and internships for high school and college students. Those who work on the airport project will receive support for transportation and child care and will also have access to on-site medical.
Local officials in cities with huge projects are increasingly demanding community benefits be part of the contract, at least if the winning firms want local support. This is especially true if the project is using government-owned land or is in line for tax breaks or other public subsidies — and the benefits are typically tied to results.
Taiwanese LED screen manufacturing company Foxconn, for instance, struck a $3 billion tax-incentive deal with the state of Wisconsin in exchange for creating jobs at its new $10 billion facility in Racine County. However, despite creating 1,032 direct jobs in 2018, only 178 jobs qualified for incentives as 854 were temporary construction-related positions. If Foxconn had created 82 more jobs, it would have received $9.5 million in tax credits.
Likewise, some cities take a punitive approach to job creation. Contractors for the Little Caesars Arena project in Detroit, despite what the city acknowledged to be their best efforts at recruitment, did not meet the goal of hiring 51% local residents and ended up owing $5.2 million in fines.