Report: MnDOT constructions contracts rarely meet state workforce goals

A report released Wednesday by the Office of the Legislative Auditor found the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s construction contracts in recent years rarely met the state’s workforce goals.

The report notes the state’s workforce goals seek to increase the diversity of workers on state-funded construction contracts, and contracting goals and preferences aim to increase the diversity of business owners who contract with MnDOT. However, the report found that certain aspects of MnDOT’s contracting goal and preference programs hardly had any effect.

The report specifically looked at MnDOT construction contracts that started during fiscal years 2018 through 2020. It noted that MnDOT has limited authority to enforce state workforce goals, but in recent years, it didn’t regularly evaluate or monitor contractors’ efforts toward meeting the workforce goals.

Some of the recommendations offered in the report include having MnDOT reconsider its cap on contract preferences and better monitoring the extent to which contractors actually meet workforce and contracting goals. The report also recommended MnDOT take a more engaged role in overseeing workforce goals for more of its state-funded contracts.

The report’s authors also urged the Legislature to consider how much it wants to prioritize the state’s workforce goals and clarify the role of contracting state agencies accordingly, and recommended the Legislature work with MnDOT to consider other strategies that would allow MnDOT to more effectively fulfill the purpose of its contracting goal programs.

Click here to see the full report issued by the Office of the Legislative Auditor.