- Mortenson Construction, the company in charge of the Vikings U.S. Bank stadium, and the Minnesota Stadium Facilities Authority announced the project has reached the minority hiring goals set by the state of Minnesota.
- Currently, with nearly 1,400 workers on the site two years after breaking ground, 37% of the workforce are minority workers — beating the 32% goal — and 9% are women — surpassing the 6% goal.
- Minnesota Stadium Facilities Authority officials said they were able to meet the ambitious goal by implementing targeted training and recruiting programs, as well as constantly tracking the staff of every subcontractor on the project. The effort has removed "every potential obstacle and excuse from anybody who has created an obstacle for minorities, veterans, women alike to get into the construction industry," one official told MPR News.
Some critics of Mortenson's past projects, including Target Field, have alleged the contractor hired minority workers for "non-essential" jobs just to meet hiring goals. Mortenson has denied all of those claims.
Heightened attention on fair hiring practices has led to an influx in minority hiring goals for major projects. Earlier this month, SolarCity announced it had exceeded its hiring goals for its Buffalo, NY, factory project. Of the 450 construction employees on its $900 million project, 18.4% are minorities and 5.6% are women — exceeding the negotiated pre-construction goals of 15% minorities and 5% women
The announcement that the project has reached its hiring goals was a welcome reprieve from the string of disputes and tragedy that has hit the stadium recently. In July, the general contractor, architect and sports authority overseeing construction of the U.S. Bank Stadium were embroiled in a dispute over who would pay for up to $50 million worth of change orders and cost adjustments.
And in August, 35-year-old Jeramie M. Gruber, of Northfield, MN, died when he fell 50 feet from the roof of the unfinished U.S. Bank Stadium. Another worker was also injured in the fall. A few weeks later, the roofing company involved, St. Paul-based Berwald, announced it had been cleared to resume work on the stadium.