New Program Connects Disadvantaged Businesses, GCs on Public Works Projects

The Economic Cornerstone Corporation (ECC) today announces its new initiative designed to create job opportunities within disadvantaged communities long suffering from chronic unemployment and underemployment. The initiative, called the “Economic Opportunities for Disadvantaged Communities Project,” focuses on maximizing the benefits of the equal opportunity requirements on public works projects in the construction industry.

“The Economic Opportunities for Disadvantaged Communities Project is modeled on a very successful program spearheaded by the predecessor of the Oriska Jobs and Careers Center,” said ECC President Jim Kernan. “That program succeeded in delivering jobs to minority workers, helped general contractors successfully subcontract work to minority businesses and mentored these companies to ensure on-time and on-budget completion of projects. It also guaranteed the work through bonds to protect the minority business and the general contractor. Everyone won.”

The ECC initiative addresses the issues that often impede the ability of a disadvantaged business to compete, thus creating jobs in communities plagued by chronic unemployment. By forming a coalition of private companies and not-for-profits, ECC can seamlessly link disadvantaged workers to paid apprenticeships with established contractors and ensure that minority businesses qualify for surety bonding and are mentored for the duration of the job.

“Public works projects demand a certain portion of work go to minorities even though they lack the skilled workforce. This invites fraud and results in fines and even prison sentences for general contractors,” Kernan added. “Our program acts as a road map for small, minority-owned businesses to successfully compete and win public works projects and for large project managers to meet minority requirements while staying within the law. Combined, it is a powerful tool for job creation in communities that desperately need them.”

Unemployed workers who qualify and contractors interested in partnering with the ECC can reach them through their website: www.economiccornerstone.org

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