In 1996, stakeholders in Portland were fed up with the dearth of public contracts going to woman- and minority-owned companies, and the relative lack of women and minorities in the workforce. City leaders pledged to do better, establishing programs to increase “participation,” which hovered between 3 and 5 percent total for those groups.
Twenty years later, those facts are all roughly the same. O’Neill Electric President Maurice Rahming, a regular voice on this issue, said now he and others are working to keep things from getting worse.
“Ideally, we’d like to see those numbers go up,” he said, “but realistically, we’re fighting to keep those extremely low numbers. We’ve been doing this for 20 years. We’ve been setting goals, but we haven’t been meeting them.” DJC (subscription required).