For an Equitable Economy

Success of Portland’s CBA


The success of the CBA in increasing the representation of minorities and women in the workforce and contractor pool on the Kelly Butte/Interstate projects cannot be overstated. For example, the CBA set an overall apprenticeship goal of 20% of all covered work hours, with an 18% target for minority apprentices and 9% target for women apprentices. As of January 2015, the total number of hours worked by apprentices on the Kelly Butte/Interstate projects was a little over 22% of total hours worked, with 54% of those hours going to minority apprentices and 29% going to female apprentices. On the journey-level, the CBA set workforce diversity targets of 18% of total project hours for minority journey-level workers. As of January 2015, minority journey-level workers accounted for 29% of total project hours on Kelly Butte, and 28% of total project hours on the Interstate Renovation.

On the contracting side, the CBA targeted 22% of hard construction costs for certified M/W/DBE/ ESB firms, with a 12% goal for M/W/DBE firms.7 As of November 2014, M/W/DBE/ESB contractors had received a total of 38% of hard construction costs, with 34% of those contracts awarded to M/W/DBE contractors and 15% going to Minority- and Women- owned contractors.

Importantly, the success of the CBA goes beyond meeting the immediate project targets. As Gerry Hein – the Operations Manager for Hoffman Construction – noted, the strength and success of Portland’s CBA are not just a matter of hitting its target numbers. Rather, a significant measure of the CBA’s success is the fact that it supports the long-term development of the individuals and businesses who are the subjects of the workforce and contracting goals. It does so by providing critical funding for outreach, recruitment, training, mentoring, and technical assistance. This, in turn, allows those individuals and businesses the opportunity to develop long-term, sustainable careers and successful contracting practices in the construction industry. Those aspects of the CBA make it unique in Mr. Hein’s 20-plus years’ experience working with targeted workforce and contracting efforts. They are also recognized in the academic literature as an important component of what makes the CBA an effective tool for the development of workforce equity in Portland.

Portland’s Community Benefits Agreement: A Proven Tool for Advancing the City’s Commitment to Workforce Equity