All too often, promises have been made to neighborhoods in the Second Suffolk district about how many local jobs will be created by a new construction project coming into the area, or how local businesses will feel a boost from new contracts needed a part of the project. But then… the project comes and goes, and once it’s over the community discovers that the job creation goals for workers of color, women, and local residents were never fulfilled. But by then, the money is gone and it’s too late.
Sen. Chang-Díaz has been working with state officials and local stakeholders to put in place mechanisms to improve the state’s performance on these goals—especially during this period of extra Federal Stimulus spending in the state.
Most recently, Sen. Chang-Díaz has been advocating for the posting of reporting data on the Massachusetts Recovery website for projects funded by the federal stimulus bill (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act or “ARRA”). This data would include the number of contracts with businesses owned by people of color (“MBEs”), women (“WBEs”), and local residents; and the rate of employment of workers of color, women, and local residents on ARRA-funded projects in the Commonwealth.
Our state’s Recovery office has already taken the critical step of collecting this data on ARRA-funded projects—a step that’s above and beyond what’s required by federal rules and shows an important commitment to economic access for under-served communities. But Sen. Chang-Díaz knows that making this information readily accessible to the public—BEFORE a project is over—would offer an extremely valuable and meaningful tool to community members. With the ability to easily access this information online, residents and advocates will be able to know when a project is off-track relative to its employment goals before the project is over. They then have the option to speak up and work with project leaders, contractors, and public officials to remedy the situation—again, before the project is over and it’s too late.
If you’d like to get involved in advocating for this tool for the community, please speak up! Call our office at 617-722-1673 or just reply to this email with your name and contact information.