The leadership of Metro DC Hispanic Contractors Assoc. (HCA) met with Ward 8 Councilman Trayon White and a group of Ward 8 stakeholders including Care DC and the Ward 8 Alliance of Businesses in the Marion Barry room at the new Busboy & Poets on Martin Luther King Avenue SE, Thursday, October 29th, 2020 to reaffirm the ties and commonalities that unite our two communities and find ways of working together to improve the lives of all residents in Ward 8 and across the District.
At this first meeting among representatives of DC's African American and Latino communities the first order of business was to disperse any lingering bad feelings surrounding incidents a week earlier at the Anacostia Gateway project where construction workers on site felt threatened and were forced to leave. Organizers of the protest explained this was not the intention of the protest and that the ire of the activists was not directed at workers but rather at the lack of participation and employment of Ward 8 residents on the various publicly funded capital improvement projects in Ward 8. HCA is not involved in the actions pertaining to the Anacostia Gateway project.
The leadership of HCA; including Ward 8 based construction firms Keystone Plus (led by HCA Chairperson, Carlos Perdomo) and Humberto Garces of Green Construction along with DCI's Pedro Alfonso and Josh Lopez attended the groundbreaking meeting and all 3 agreed to two key follow ups:
First* The creation of a joint pilot project venture between Ward 8 stakeholders and HCA to provide workforce development training in the form of life skills and pre-apprenticeship training along with referrals to current apprenticeship opportunities for those interested in employment and/or a career in construction work and the building trades with an emphasis on recruiting Ward 8 residents.
The DC Hispanic Contractors Association will provide resources it has developed in OSHA training and various workshops and seminars it supports and draw on its partners in the construction industry and the Building Trades Unions to provide follow up in both training and job placement for this program. The Councilman will assist in reaching out to DC government, in particular DGS, DDOT & DOES for support of this endeavor.
Second* Provide a business-to-business networking session and rigorous follow up for Ward 8 based construction and construction related companies together with the largest builders and stakeholders in the region. DCHCA will reach out to replicate the partnerships in construction management training already in place with a version designed and targeted to Ward 8 based firms and disadvantaged businesses throughout the District. This networking session and follow up will be coordinated w/DGS, DDOT and DSLBD.
Hispanic Contractors would like to thank Councilmember Trayon White, and various stakeholders in Ward 8 such as Care DC and the Business Alliance who participated in the meeting. It is our hope first and foremost that we can bring equity and fairness to the construction industry and progress and success in the workplace for all DC residents. We look forward to a continued dialogue and the implementation of the targeted action items.