TUCKER / EVANS / WATSON COLEMAN / RAMOS BILL TO ENSURE WOMEN AND MINORITIES WORK IN PUBLIC PROJECTS APPROVED BY ASSEMBLY

TUCKER / EVANS / WATSON COLEMAN / RAMOS BILL TO ENSURE WOMEN AND MINORITIES WORK IN PUBLIC PROJECTS APPROVED BY ASSEMBLY
(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly members Cleopatra Tucker, Elease Evans, Bonnie Watson Coleman and Ruben J. Ramos Jr. to ensure women and minorities benefit from construction contracts was approved 46-30-1 Monday by the Assembly.
The bill (A-4082) would require state and local public bodies entering into construction contracts worth more than $1 million that are funded – in part or in whole – by public dollars to transfer 0.5 percent of the amount funded by public money to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
The department would use the money for outreach and training programs for minorities and women.
“We must ensure that public construction contracts, especially amid this difficult economy, benefit all segments of our community, including women and minorities,” said Tucker (D-Essex). “This bill not only does that, but helps ensure future generations will get the training they need to continue taking part in such work.”
“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.”
“This legislation 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 Majority Leader 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.”
“Nothing is more important in this economy than creating jobs, but we also must make sure everyone has a chance at those jobs,” said Ramos (D-Hudson). “No one can be left behind.”
The bill would require the money to be used to provide on-the-job or off-the-job outreach and training programs in the construction trades utilized under the contracts, including programs of preparation for registered apprenticeships for minority group members and women in those trades, with opportunities for long-term employment providing economic self-sufficiency for the minority group members and women.
Also, the bill would require the department, in coordination with the Department of the Treasury, to make public on the Internet a full disclosure, by construction contract, of the money provided to programs funded pursuant to the bill and a full disclosure, by program, of the numbers of minority group members and women participating in the programs.
Finally, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development would be required to provide annual reports, also made public on the Internet, on all programs funded pursuant to the bill, including, for each program, data regarding the results with respect to the enrollment of minority group members and women into registered apprenticeships and results regarding their retention in long-term employment, including the numbers and percentages of apprentices and other workers under each contract who are women and minority group members.