D.C. Residents Continue to Be Hired for DHS Headquarters Project; More Opportunities for Small Business Contracts and Jobs Coming This Spring

WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — The office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today released the most recent data available (January 2017) on the number of District of Columbia residents hired to work at federal construction sites in the District and D.C. small businesses with subcontracts at the sites.  Three of the projects that wrapped up in the fall established generally good D.C. hiring rates as measured against the percentage of D.C. residents in the region (10 percent).  The Old Post Office Trump Construction reported that over 11 percent of workers were D.C. residents and 10 percent of subcontracts went to D.C. small businesses; the Truman Building Clark Construction reported that between 8 percent and 18 percent of workers were D.C. residents; and the Lafayette Building Grunley Construction reported that between 18 percent and 20 percent of workers were D.C. residents for the duration of the project.  Work continues at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) headquarters project at St. Elizabeths, where Grunley Construction hired additional D.C. residents.  DHS was ready for its first direct small business contract, and a new small business set-aside was awarded in the fall for DHS Operations Center phase 2 fit-out.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

To encourage utilizing D.C. residents and D.C. small businesses, Norton keeps track of D.C. hires and small business contracts at federal construction sites, and conducts unannounced, on-site visits.  Anyone, regardless of residency, can work on any federally financed project in the United States and federal law prohibits specific quotas for the hiring of local residents.  However, existing federal regulations allow the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to conduct aggressive employment outreach for local residents to work on projects being constructed in their communities, including in the District.

At the DHS headquarters construction project at St. Elizabeths in Ward 8, Grunley reported that 7.5 percent were D.C. workers, a minimal decrease from the previous report as more D.C. workers and non-D.C. workers were brought onto the project.  General Dynamics reported that 1.3 percent were D.C. workers, the same as the previous report.  The current period of interior demolition requires a smaller workforce because it involves careful, historic preservation work.

With no new subcontractors from any jurisdiction hired by Grunley or General Dynamic in January at St. Elizabeths, D.C. small business representation remained the same. There are currently a total of three D.C. small businesses out of 16 subcontractors for Grunley Construction on site.  General Dynamics is not currently engaged in subcontract work for small businesses.  However, the slate of 20 small businesses on which General Dynamics relies includes two D.C. small businesses.  There will be more opportunities for small businesses once Grunley completes interior work and General Dynamics is able to begin its IT work on the Center Building.  Norton says she understands the highly-skilled nature of General Dynamics’ IT work, which also requires substantial security clearances, but she wants to see an increase in the number of D.C. workers and small businesses brought on by General Dynamics.

Norton was able to secure $556.7 million for DHS consolidation at St. Elizabeths in the fiscal year 2016 omnibus appropriations bill, which will mean continued work for D.C. residents and D.C. small businesses.  Norton is working to secure fiscal year 2017 and 2018 funds for the project.  In the next year, work will begin at St. Elizabeths on the new access road to support federal employee traffic, which was funded in fiscal year 2015.  GSA is also working to award some construction contracts directly to small businesses in the coming year.

GSA continues to staff an Opportunities Center at St. Elizabeths (2701 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. SE, St. Elizabeths West Campus), which Norton worked with GSA to establish after she got the first funds for the DHS headquarters project in 2009.  The Opportunities Center is open weekdays, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  GSA staff provides assistance on all federal projects to prospective employees and contractors and help small businesses with hiring and contracting processes at St. Elizabeths and other GSA sites.  The Opportunities Center also offers resume writing workshops, job postings, 8(a) small business training, and community outreach.

Ward 8 Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Project on the St. Elizabeths Campus

Contractor Project Total D.C. Residents Employed and percentage of total as of January 2017
Grunley Construction Design/Build of the Historic Center Building 28 of 386 (7.3%)
General Dynamics DHS Technology Integration Program (TIP) 1 of 77 (1.3%)
CW Resources Custodial and Related Services 61*
Facilities Development Corp. DHS Operations Center A 2*

* No percentage of employees reported

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