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Some hiring numbers at Ferdinand redevelopment improving

Posted by Patrick Rosso  February 19, 2013 01:12 PM

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The number of Boston residents and women employed on the redevelopment of the Ferdinand building in Roxbury is improving, although the number of minority workers has dropped slightly.

The project, dubbed the Dudley Municipal Center, is a $119-million city development being led by Shawmut Construction. Eventually the structure, slated to be completed in 2014, will house the headquarters of Boston Public Schools and ground-floor retail.

Last October the worksite was picketed by a number of local residents and area advocacy groups for what they perceived as a lack of minority, Boston resident, and women representation on the job site.

Currently 40.7 percent of the workers are from Boston, 58.8 percent are minorities, and 8.2 percent are women, according to the most recent numbers provided by the city of Boston.

Hiring goals established by the city call on contractors to employ 50 percent Boston residents, 25 percent minorities, and 10 percent women.

Contractors are currently falling short on Boston resident and women hires, but are exceeding minority hires.

Some of the numbers have improved since October, when 31 percent of workers were from Boston and 6 percent were women.

It has, however, dropped in the number of minorities on the site, which in October was 67.2 percent.

Officials with the city said they expect the numbers will continue to climb as more workers are brought in as work ramps up in the coming months.

“We fully expect with the influx of new workers coming in we will meet or exceed those goals,” said Patrick Brophy, assistant director of Capital Construction at the City of Boston. “We meet bi-weekly with the Roxbury Leadership Forum and members of the trades to encourage them to get people down here to sign up.”

The city and Shawmut have established a walk-in job center at 22 Warren St. in Dudley Square to help prospective applicants. A community liaison, employed through Shawmut, is also available during construction hours to meet with applicants and steer them in the right direction.

“We review the [hiring] data daily and have been very stern with Shawmut to make sure they are doing everything in their power to get hires up,” Brophy said.

Currently the project, which broke ground in March 2012, is at the 25 percent completion mark. Crews are currently working on the foundation walls and finishing up the second elevator tower and will begin the construction of the building's steel skeleton in April.

“We can expect the workforce to double when steel arrives and then double again once it has been completed,” said Brophy. recently visited the worksite in Roxbury’s Dudley Square. To see the pictures, click here.

E-mail Patrick D. Rosso, Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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