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State did not meet diversity goals in construction workforce, audit finds

The Massachusetts state agency responsible for overseeing the construction and management of public buildings hasn't been diligent enough in monitoring and enforcing state goals for the inclusion of women and minority workers, a report from the state auditor’s office found.

The audit released Wednesday found the state’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance did not have sufficient processes in place to effectively monitor its contractors’ compliance with workforce participation goals for women and minorities.

According to state guidelines, each construction contract should include goals that at least 15.3% of hours of construction work be performed by minority workers and 6.9% by female workers.

The audit found that of the 127 construction contracts active during the audit period, 95% did not meet the women’s workforce participation goal and 61% did not have any hours worked by women.

The audit also found that 64% of the 127 contracts did not meet minority workforce participation goals, and 36 of those (28%) did not have any hours worked by minorities.

The audit reviewed a period from Jan. 1, 2019 through Dec. 31, 2020.

“Both state law and state contracts impose on contractors obligations to create opportunities for women and non-white persons to move into these well-paid jobs in the design and construction of public infrastructure. DCAMM has not been diligent in its monitoring and enforcement of these requirements,” State Auditor Suzanne Bump said in a written statement.

DCAMM has already worked to address many of the concerns raised in the audit, according to Sophia Capone, deputy director for strategy and external affairs for the Executive Office for Administration and Finance.

“DCAMM deploys a robust Affirmative Marketing Program to ensure minority, women, and veteran representation on state construction contracts and already addressed many of the procedural issues raised by the auditor,” Capone said in a written statement Wednesday.

“In Fiscal Year 2020, this program resulted in a 91% and 42% net increase in the total number of Minority Business Enterprises and Women Business Enterprises certified to work on DCAMM projects, respectively,” Capone added.

DCAMM manages more than $2 billion annually in state-funded construction projects and 550 active leases, consisting of more than 5 million square feet (464,515 square meters) of office space that house state agencies.

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