TO ENSURE ITS LONG-TERM SUCCESS, THE CITY NEEDS TO IMPLEMENT THE CBA ON FUTURE CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS.
While the proven success of the CBA on the Kelly Butte and Interstate projects is laudable, it is only the beginning. Developing the capacity of M/W/DBE firms is a long-term process that will require years to complete. The same is true for developing journey-level tradespeople; depending on the trade, it typically takes as many as five years for an apprentice to develop the skills and experience necessary to earn journey certification. Likewise, continuing the recruitment of historically underrepresented people of color and women into the construction industry through apprenticeship opportunities takes time and commitment. This should be no surprise. Simply put, the success of the City’s efforts to achieve its economic equity goals will require a long-term commitment, regardless of the particular policy tool.
The CBA provides a proven, effective tool to help the City fulfill its long-term commitment to economic equity. As originally enacted, the model CBA was intended as a template for City projects in excess of $15 million. Upcoming projects – such as the Washington Park Reservoir – are prime candidates for the CBA. Given its ability to advance the City’s economic equity goals as shown by its proven success at meeting workforce and contracting goals, its ability to develop a self-sufficient workforce in traditionally underrepresented communities, and the commitment of MAWE and other stakeholders to the long-term success of the CBA, reaffirming the City’s commitment to the CBA is easy. Doing so will provide City residents with expanded economic opportunities. It will also provide City officials with concrete examples of success in meeting their economic equity goals along with a motivated body of stakeholders who have the demonstrated commitment and ability to mobilize in support of the CBA and to make it work on the ground. For all of these reasons, it is time for the City to renew its commitment to the CBA by implementing it on additional projects.
Portland’s Community Benefits Agreement: A Proven Tool for Advancing the City’s Commitment to Workforce Equity