MOKAN

BJC Healthcare is in middle of a large construction project employing a lot of workers.
file photo | Provided by BJC HealthCare

Unemployed minorities and females looking to enter the construction industry in the St. Louis region now have a new training option.

BJC Healthcare is in middle of a large construction project employing a lot of workers.
file photo | Provided by BJC HealthCare

In his 35 years as president of the St. Louis chapter of the Coalition for Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), Lew Moye has seen a lot of initiatives to increase diversity in construction.

There have been agreements to include minorities in specific projects, such as building the Edward Jones Dome and expanding Interstate 64.

And there have been protests demanding greater minority representation, such as the 1999 shutdown of I-70, where Reverend Al Sharpton led minority contractors in a call for more state highway jobs.

Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

The life sciences district known as Cortex has gotten initial approval for the first phase of its $2.1 billion expansion plan.

The city's Tax Increment Financing commission voted today to authorize about $35 million in incentives for the first phase, which totals about $160 million.

The phase includes new office and laboratory space, a new Shriners' Hospital, and a streetscape known as Cortex Commons. Here's how it breaks down:

(Véronique LaCapra)

The minority business advocacy group MOKAN says the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District is not doing enough to include local minority and female workers in its sewer upgrade projects.

MOKAN executive director Yaphett El-Amin says her group wants MSD to increase the transparency of its hiring practices and invest at least $23.5 million in worker training programs.