Minnesota Stadium Facilities Authority Announces Plan To Include Women, Minorities And Veterans In Stadium Construction

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 8, 2013 – 2:00 pm

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority passed the much anticipated Construction Services Agreement Equity Plan today. The plan outlines how the Construction Manager will engage women, minorities and veterans in the building of the new stadium.

The plan is a continuation of the equity efforts that began during the design phase. For the Design Services Agreement, the Authority and the Minnesota Vikings adopted goals of 11% and 8% women and minority inclusion respectively. The Authority announced the majority of the subcontractors who are fulfilling those goals at its last meeting on January 18, 2013.

“The Authority and the Minnesota Vikings have developed this comprehensive plan with public input. As we build this new stadium we want to ensure we include communities of color, women and veterans,” stated Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen. “Our goals are aggressive, and this stadium project is going to leave a legacy of successful companies and individuals with lifelong careers.”

The Targeted Business (TB) goal will be 20% – 11% women owned businesses and 9% minority owned businesses. Only contract work performed by Minnesota firms will be counted towards this Targeted Business goal. The workforce goal is to include 32% minorities and 6% women in all hours worked on the stadium project. The plan also addresses the need to include Minnesota veterans in our outreach and employment efforts.

“The Governor and legislators saw the construction of the new stadium as an economic development tool,” added Chair Kelm-Helgen. “Our board will ensure that targeted businesses and the workforce are Minnesota companies and Minnesota workers.”

“The Vikings and the Authority are committed to ensuring a diverse and talented work force on this project,” said Vikings Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Warren, a member of the Stadium Equity Review Panel. “We have worked hard to put together a comprehensive equity plan – one that will focus on outreach, recruitment, training and employment of all Minnesotans and will ensure inclusion of minorities, women and veterans.”

More specifics from the Equity Plan:
– The Equity Plan calls for the Authority to contract with an Employment Assistance Firm which will focus on specific stadium workforce needs and preparing the diverse workforce of tomorrow.
– The Plan specifically outlines how the Construction Manager will report their efforts to meet the TB goal and workforce goals.
– A Stadium Equity Oversight Committee will be established as a public meeting where the Construction Manager will periodically report progress on minority, women and veteran goals.
– An outreach strategy that includes Minnesota veteran owned businesses and inclusion in the workforce is an important part of the Plan.
– The Authority will work closely with the City of Minneapolis, Minnesota Department of Human Rights, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, Minnesota Department of Administration to help the Construction Manager and Subcontractors with the reporting of Targeted Businesses and Workforce numbers.

“The Association of Women Contractors is very pleased with the Equity Plan,” said Barb Lau Executive Director of the AWC. “We strongly support the 20% Minnesota Targeted Business inclusion in the plan. We are confident that through the leadership of the Authority and the Vikings, we will meet or exceed this goal.”

The Authority also confirmed that they are negotiating with two of the three firms who submitted bids: Hunt Construction and Mortenson Construction.

About the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA)
In May 2012, the Minnesota Legislature and the Minneapolis City Council approved funding for the new $975 million multi-purpose stadium to replace the Metrodome. The new stadium is scheduled to open in time for the 2016 NFL season. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA), which currently owns the Metrodome, will own and operate the new stadium. MSFA is also responsible for the design and construction of the new stadium.

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(Re)Making The Grade: Looking Back At 2012 Draft

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 8, 2013 – 7:12 am

We will talk a lot about the 2013 NFL Draft on and the Blog over the next 2.5 months. But right now, let’s take a look back at how the Vikings fared in the 2012 NFL Draft.

The impetus behind this idea is a piece put together by ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. Immediately following each year’s draft, he applies a grade to each team’s effort by reconciling the selections made by each team against that team’s draft positions and specific roster needs. Anyone who does this will tell you there’s a high degree of error involved because it’s typically a 3-year process before you can complete the evaluation of a draft-class. But in order to be fair and to hold himself accountable, Kiper has decided to revisit his post-draft grades for each team and hand out new grades based on how the draft picks and teams fared during the 2012 season.

The Vikings efforts in the 2012 NFL Draft were applauded immediately after, as they came out of the event with a pair of 1st-round picks at positions of need and also peppered the roster with 8 other selections after that. Kiper gave the Vikings a post-draft grade of a “B” and said the following: “The Vikings did pretty well. They got the left tackle they coveted in Matt Kalil, and they moved up to get a safety. Both Kalil and Harrison Smith, their two first-round picks, should be starting in Week 1. Josh Robinson adds speed, if not a lot of polish, at corner, and has the chance to develop into a good player.”

A pretty spot-on post-draft evaluation. Kalil and Smith both started all 16 games this season, and Robinson indeed has the look of a developing player after playing in all 16 games and starting 6 in his rookie season. Plus, he was 3rd on the team with 2 INTs and 7th on the team with 61 tackles.

In revisiting the draft and handing out new grades, though, Kiper has increased that grade by changing it to an A-. Kalil, Robinson and Smith fulfilled his expectations, and then others, most notably Blair Walsh, add significant contributions to cause Kiper to upgrade his evaluation. Here’s what he provided as new commentary:

“Kalil not only started 16 games at left tackle, played well at a significant position and if his run-blocking catches up with his pass-blocking, he’ll become among the league’s best. Smith became exactly what the Vikings had hoped, started all 16 games at free safety and should be there for years to come. The instincts he showed at Notre Dame were on display, and he’ll continue to get better. Robinson is raw, but could ultimately take over for Antoine Winfield. And don’t overlook one of the steals of the draft. Blair Walsh was taken at No. 175 overall, and was the best kicker in the league in 2012. A year later, a pretty good draft looks even better.”

And that’s not even to mention WR Jarius Wright coming on in the second half of the season, Rhett Ellison well on the way to providing the offense with gritty blocking and sneaky-good production in the passing game, and late-round picks Robert Blanton and Audie Cole poised to take on increased roles after serving on special teams from time-to-time in 2012. Including the injured Greg Childs, 9 of the Vikings 10 draft picks from last year are still on the team.

The news gets better from here, too. The Vikings are currently slated to have 8 draft picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, which provides GM Rick Spielman and Co. with plenty of ammunition and opportunity to add even more young talent to an already young and talented roster that will continue to get better.


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