Before construction of President Obama's future library can commence, contractors must first show they will hire minorities to work on the construction teams.
"The Obama Foundation is asking the four construction teams vying to build the presidential center to set high standards for local and minority hiring," reports dnainfo. "The foundation announced four finalists Thursday morning and also the standards for hiring the foundation is setting for each."
To win the honor of building the president's library, the firms must present a full-scale plan to award half of its subcontracts to "diverse suppliers." The new standards expand beyond just women and minority-owned companies to veteran, disabled, and LGBTQ-owned. At least 35% of contracts must go to minority-owned firms regardless of whether or not they provide the best service or do the best job.
Not only must they be minority-owned, but also local, specifically from the areas of Woodlawn, Washington Park, South Shore and the South and West sides. The firms must also provide to the Obama Foundation the methods they will use to recruit and retain these people.
"The Obamas chose to develop the Obama Presidential Center on the South Side to give back to the community that has given so much to them. With this [request for proposals], the foundation has established significant and aggressive goals for diversity and inclusion," said David Simas, CEO of the foundation. "We are committed to creating meaningful opportunities and jobs for local businesses, community members, and underrepresented communities in the South Side and throughout Chicago, and using our platform to pioneer new approaches to engaging minority populations in the construction industry to provide not just short-term jobs, but long-term professional opportunities."
No details have been provided as to the consequences of any firm failing to honor the agreement. Below are the four finalist firms.
• Clark/Smoot Presidential Builders, a partnership that includes Clark Construction Group, Smoot Construction Company, GMA Construction Group and Bowa Construction
• Lakeside Alliance, a partnership that includes Turner Construction Company, Power & Sons Construction, UJAMAA Construction Inc., Brown & Momen Inc. and Safeway Construction Company
• Power Mortenson Partners, a partnership that includes Power Construction Company, Mortenson Construction, GMA Construction, Bowa Group
• W.E. O’Neil Construction Company