POU, WATSON COLEMAN & EVANS LOOK TO FURTHER ENSURE WOMEN AND MINORITIES BENEFIT FROM CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblywomen Nellie Pou, Bonnie Watson Coleman and Elease Evans to further ensure women and minorities benefit from construction contracts has received final legislative approval.

The law (A-3018) clarifies a measure signed in January that requires state and local public bodies entering into construction contracts worth more than $1 million that are funded through public dollars to transfer 0.5 percent of the amount funded by public money to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The department will use the money for outreach and training programs for minorities and women.

The new bill:

·Expands the funded activities to include outreach as well as training, and to include not only construction trade occupations, but other occupations in the construction industry, such as management and engineering.

·Modifies the scope of projects subject to the 0.5 percent set-aside to make it clear that it apply to local, as well as state, projects.

“We must ensure that public construction contracts, especially amid this difficult economy, benefit all segments of our community, including women and minorities,” said Pou (D-Passaic/Bergen). “This law not only does that, and helps ensure future generations will get the training they need to continue taking part in such work.”

“This law is especially important as we move forward with our many federal and state stimulus projects and position New Jersey to thrive once the economy turns the corner,” said Watson Coleman (D-Mercer). “This is the time to take the steps needed to make sure everyone benefits from the new jobs these programs will create.”

“When it comes to public projects, everyone deserves an equal chance to participate,” said Evans (D-Passaic). “We cannot let this opportunity pass without ensuring everyone enjoys the same access to jobs.”

The bill recently passed the Assembly 52-22-4 and the Senate 26-14. It now goes to the governor.

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