- Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has proposed increasing resident, women and minority hiring goals for the city's construction companies, according to The Boston Globe.
- Currently, Boston's construction companies are required to show "good faith efforts" in hiring Boston residents to work 50% of all hours, minorities to work 25% and women to work 10%. Walsh's proposal would require that locals work 51%, minorities work 40% and women work 12%.
- Companies are required to report their hiring results to the city, but records show that both the private and public sector have failed to meet the current goals. Minority recruitment had begun to rise but has also fallen short of the city's requirements.
If the City Council approves Walsh's proposal, the changes would take effect immediately, but similar hiring requirements in other Massachusetts cities have failed to hold up against legal challenges.
Another hurdle companies must clear in order to meet Walsh's goals is that of supply. Traditionally, those coming into the Boston construction workforce have family and friends in the industry, which limits those in the employment pipeline. In response, companies have developed their own training programs to try to draw in more workers. And in an environment of ongoing construction labor shortages, some industry groups have questioned whether hiring requirements on publicly funded projects are feasible.
A local Boston construction industry group has already made inroads in boosting women's presence on city job sites. The Policy Group on Tradeswomen’s Issues (PGTI) advocates for women in the industry by reaching out to local construction companies and asking them to increase opportunities. The group focuses on low-income and minority women who have not had access to educational or training programs in the past. By introducing more women into the workforce, the group hopes even more women will follow.
Walsh proposed another construction-related measure earlier this month. The new rule would require contractors who want to do work in the city to submit any records of Occupational Safety and Health Administration violations with their building permit applications for review. The city would also have the authority to revoke or deny a building permit based on a contractor's safety history. Walsh's plan followed a deadly construction accident where the contractor in charge had a poor safety record, unbeknownst to city officials.