The county strives for diversity and inclusion in contracting. To that end, it administers various programs and has implemented new systems to track compliance with these programs.
New online contract compliance system
Vendors must now use the online contract compliance system.
The online system replaces the paper and email process vendors used before.
Affirmative Action Program
For all contracts over $100,000, the county requires contractors to have an affirmative action plan in place. An affirmative action plan is a set of goal-oriented management policies and procedures to eliminate barriers to employment and increase retention of minorities, women and qualified disabled persons that are not based on specific job requirements.
The county partners with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights to monitor compliance. Contractors with contracts over $100,000 must apply for a Workforce Certificate of Compliance and submit evidence of approval to the county.
In some cases, contractors may be exempt from the requirements. Contractors are exempt if:
- Your company has no facilities in AND no more than one employee operating in Hennepin County.
- Your company employed <40 full-time benefit-earning employees during the prior 12 months.
For construction contracts over $100,000, contractors are required to submit a completed construction affirmative action plan specific to the project PRIOR to contract award. For this type of plan, the county administers contract compliance. Certain road and bridge construction projects, because of non-county funding sources, have State of Minnesota Disadvantaged Business Enterprise requirements and the contract compliance is administered by MnDOT.
Small Business Enterprise program
Small Business Enterprise (SBE) goals may be included in contracts that exceed $100,000, based on the opportunity for subcontracting and small business availability to work on the project. For contracts that include an SBE goal, contractors must meet the goal or demonstrate, through written documents, that they made a good faith effort to meet the goal.
Certified small businesses
Only the use of a small business that is a certified Small Business Enterprise (SBE) by the Central Certification (CERT) Program will count towards an SBE goal. With a single application, small businesses can become certified in Hennepin County, City of St. Paul and Ramsey County and get business assistance information. Contractors can register with the CERT Program to obtain a directory of certified SBEs.
Call 651-266-8900 or visit the CERT Program website.
Workforce Entry Program (WEP) and WEP 2.0 (pilot)
Workforce entry program (WEP)
The workforce entry program requires contractors for larger Hennepin County construction projects to hire graduates of approved job training programs or demonstrate a good faith effort to do so.
The county typically sets a 5 percent WEP goal on a project - meaning 5 percent of total project labor hours must be performed by apprentices who recently graduated from an approved training program.
Contractors hire job training program graduates as apprentices, who gain valuable skill and knowledge working on county projects.
WEP is a Hennepin County workforce entry and career pathways program for the construction industry. Approved training programs (PDF)
WEP pilot program - WEP 2.0
The county encourages labor and industry to support its efforts to meet the increased demand for skilled craft workers through career pathways that target unemployed and under-employed workers. The WEP 2.0 program was developed to advance this policy objective within a designated local hire zone.
Local hire zone map (PDF)