Cleveland, Ohio—Backed by strong support from the public and private sectors, several action steps have been taken to implement recommendations on how to increase local and minority participation on major private sector construction projects planned in the City of Cleveland.
The action items, outlined below, provide the framework to carry out recommendations from a special report prepared for the Commission on Economic Inclusion in March 2012, a program of the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP). The recommendations were based on more than 300 hours of interviews with key stakeholders over a 12-month period.
A catalytic recommendation called for Community Benefits and Inclusion agreements for private sector projects. A significant step forward was achieved with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by nine organizations on February 26, 2013, and a subsequent endorsement of the MOU by 10 public and private project owners on September 16, 2013.
“This is more than ‘talking the talk,” said Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson who convened two years’ worth of work sessions and provided the leadership that led to the MOU and subsequent endorsements. “The documents have been signed, and we’re moving forward with concrete results to report.”
Progress on the recommendations includes:
- Capitalizing on the City of Cleveland’s community benefits model which is enacted through city ordinances and policies;
- Creating and convening a Construction Diversity and Inclusion Committee, chaired by Natoya Walker Minor, chief of public affairs, City of Cleveland and Anthony Panzica, president and CEO, Panzica Construction Company. The committee has more than 50 representatives from the business community; project owners; unions; contractors; schools; training organizations; black, Hispanic and women-focused community groups and the City of Cleveland.
- Developing subcommittees for owners, contractors and subcontractors, training and apprenticeships, community groups and workforce reporting and monitoring;
- Developing an RFQ for a skilled labor demand study;
- Engaging a quality economic research firm to proceed with the study;
- Raising $55,000 to fund the study;
- Convening the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Construction Employers Association, Cleveland Building & Construction Trades Council, and Joint Apprentice Training Coordinators to develop an operating agreement leading to curriculum for school-to-apprenticeship by 2014;
- Securing endorsements by 10 public and private sector project owners to manage $5 billion in projects in the method prescribed by the collaborative.
“Our region’s current boom in construction also serves as an economic driver,” said GCP President and CEO Joe Roman. “Clearly there’s an opportunity to move forward inclusively so that these major projects can translate into job creation in the City of Cleveland.”
The initial report was prepared by Commission on Economic Inclusion Advisory Board members Richard W. Pogue, senior advisor, Jones Day, and Dennis Lafferty, director, practice initiatives, Buckley King.
“I am very pleased that this collaborative effort is underway,” said Pogue. “In light of the varying views and challenges we heard through our interviews, it’s great to see the positive engagement of the stakeholders toward a more inclusive and equitable future in construction.”
Said Lafferty: “The commitment of the public-private partnership that’s engaged in this effort speaks well for continued progress. As recommended in our report, the monitoring process, which will be implemented in the coming months, will help ensure that we meet our objectives.”
About the Greater Cleveland Partnership
The Greater Cleveland Partnership mobilizes private-sector leadership, expertise and resources to create attractive business conditions that create jobs, grow investment and improve the economic prosperity of the region. www.gcpartnership.com.
About the Commission on Economic Inclusion
The Commission on Economic Inclusion is a program of the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP). Its mission is "to significantly improve the level of inclusion-the meaningful involvement of minority businesses and individuals-in the economic engines that drive Northeast Ohio." www.commission-inclusion.com