MORE2 met with members of the construction industry on November 2, 2005 at the first JERICHO TABLE and agreed that metro Kansas City can and must bring a new direction to the hiring of minority and women in the industry. As we continued to meet in November and December, the numbers of participants grew, as did the commitments to change. At the December 12 Accountability Meeting, MORE2 announced eight accomplishments, which are summarized here.
· Area contractors developed or expanded mentoring programs for minorities and women.
· Project Prepare began registering trainees for a brief pre-apprenticeship program that would feed into construction trade unions’ apprenticeship programs.
· Other pre-apprenticeship programs had commitments to hire qualified graduates in the spring of 2006 and established working relationships with contractors.
· The City of Kansas City, Missouri committed to creating a transparent and accountable monitoring system by May 31, 2006.
In 2006, the progress continued with:
· Passage of a resolution by the Kansas City, Missouri City Council on May 4, 2006 that directed city staff to report pertinent data from projects so that the status of compliance would be available.
· A showcase of five pre-apprenticeship programs was given for the construction industry firms present as well as binders with description of skills, lesson plans for training employees and suggestions for practical approaches. As of the end of May 2006, approximately 200 students have participated in the five programs.
· Discussions began with the banking industry to develop a financial assistance program using private and public funds, guided by industry and financial representatives to help small minority-based and women-based firms grow in the industry.
· Churches and community groups referred interested persons to Project Prepare, a joint initiative of the Unions, Construction industry and KCMO city government to provide short, intensive pre-apprenticeship program.
· An accountability press conference was held with KCMO city government on August 30, 2006 to attain the information about city construction projects in accordance with the Resolution passed on May 4, 2006.
The Jericho Table has helped bring down barriers that have kept minorities and women out of the construction industry. We expect to do much more!