Our City and our region will not thrive unless everyone-- public and private sector, central city and suburb-- embraces economic inclusion. That means that all of our citizens-- regardless of the color of their skin or their gender-- should have the opportunity to participate in our region's economy.
A new study done by the Metropolitan Sewer District is a major step forward for the region. The City of St. Louis is following suit. Many others should as well.
After a lengthy process, the Metropolitan Sewer District has released the results of its disparity study. It is a mathematical calculation of the difference between the availability of minority and women own businesses and workers, and the actual usage. Unfortunately but not surprisingly, the study found large disparities in construction contracts and construction workforce. The good news is that the study found progress in other areas.
As a result, MSD will increase some of its minority and women participation goals, reduce others and even eliminate some. MSD now has a legal basis for its minority and women participation in its projects, both for contractors and workers.
The City of St. Louis is also conducting a disparity study, the City's first in a very long time. It will be the legal basis for all our minority and women participation goals. In particular, we are interested in setting a fact-based goal for minority and women workers in TIF projects.
It is my hope that everyone-- majority owners, builders, employers, unions, minority contractors and workers-- agree that reducing economic disparities in our City and in our region will make us stronger, and that we all work together to find real solutions to real barriers that are holding us back.