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Thursday, August 28 2014 7:43 PM EDT2014-08-28 23:43:08 GMT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Kentucky leaders want to bridge the gap when it comes to hiring minorities for the Ohio River Bridges project.
Governor Steve Beshear unveiled a new recruitment partnership on Friday to help prepare skilled workers for construction careers.
Bridges to Opportunities is a federal, state and local government effort funded with $1.9 million already calculated into the Ohio River Bridges budget.
"If they need to develop those skills, we've got a training track," Beshear said. "This will help fill a need for women and minority workers in the area."
Federal guidelines already mandate minority hiring for federal highway transportation projects.
Walsh Construction will have a hand in both the east end and downtown projects. "There's a workforce diversity pool. We need to hire 10 percent female and 15 percent minorities for all the people we hire and all the people who are subcontractors we'll hire," Project Manager Arik Quam said.
When asked whether House Bill 279, criticized for protecting discrimination as "religious freedom," would affect minority recruitment Beshear said, "I'm looking at that bill right now to try to evaluate all the different kinds of concerns expressed before I make a decision. I'll make a decision, nature will then take its course."
Click here to apply for the Bridges to Opportunities program.