To help build a more diverse workforce, the Multnomah County Board has approved a new fund to increase the supply of women and minorities entering the construction trades and to provide small business development.
The fund will provide technical assistance, mentoring, association sponsorships and other supports to support Certified disadvantaged, minority and female owned small business. It will also support worker retention, to increase the number of apprentices who continue onto journey-level work.
The Construction Diversity and Equity Fund will draw 1 percent from county remodeling projects with budgets above $200,000 and new construction over $1 million. County commissioners unanimously voted to create the fund on March 15. It takes effect July 1, the start of the county’s fiscal year.
In the last few years, Multnomah County has undertaken an unprecedented volume of major projects, investing more than $750 million in building a new Central Courthouse, Health Department Headquarters and Sellwood Bridge.
This latest effort is an expansion of equity work that the county has done for many years, including project labor agreements which have strong equity goals and opportunities for Certified disadvantaged, minority and women businesses and workforce.