Update: Protest planned to urge light rail jobs for the disabled; Met Council to help find training, apprenticeships

A group will protest in downtown St. Paul Wednesday over concerns that the proposed Central Corridor light-rail line won’t have construction jobs for disabled workers.

Promoted by Kaposia, a company that helps find jobs for people with disabilities, the protest rally will be at noon in front of Wells Fargo Place, at 7th and Wabasha Sts.

The group says the Minnesota Department of Civil Rights — which is already enforcing employment goals for women and minorities — seems uninterested in  establishing employment goals for individuals with disabilities for light rail construction and other upcoming projects.

The group says people with disabilities do not just want to ride the light-rail transit system, they also want to build it. The protest will point out that without action by the Minnesota Department of Civil Rights and the Central Corridor Project, that won’t happen.

The Metropolitan Council, which is in charge of designing and building the light-rail line, says it doesn’t have the legal authority to set a goal for hiring of people who are disabled, but is offering a “construction workforce and diversity mixer” Wednesday from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Wilder Center at University and Lexington Avenues in St. Paul, where there will be workshops on how people with disabilities can get construction jobs. People with disabilities who have construction careers will be on hand to talk about their experiences.

It is also intended to help people learn what skills they need to qualify for work on the Central Corridor LRT Project. It is not a job fair, but will help direct people to training and apprenticeship programs so they will have the skills needed to apply for work on this project. This will be the Met Council’s third mixer to inform the public about job opportunities on the project. A mixer in September was held for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) and another mixer was held in February for DBEs and general contractors.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by John Olson on 05/19/2009 - 10:38 am.

    There is no such agency as the “Minnesota Department of Civil Rights.” There is, however, a Minnesota Department of Human Rights.

    Unless they are referring to the “Office of Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action and Civil Rights” in the Department of Human Services. Or a city agency.

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