Federal Construction Projects in D.C. Show No Hiring or Subcontracting; As Firms Increase Work, Norton Will Apply Pressure for More D.C. Representation


WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — The office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today released the most recent set of available data (July 2016) 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.  These projects were not hiring from any jurisdiction in July, but D.C. representation among workers held steady.  The same was true of subcontracting, with no sites adding subcontractors from any jurisdiction.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Norton keeps track of D.C. hires and small business contracts and conducts unannounced, on-site visits, because anyone, regardless of residency, can work on any federally financed project and federal law prohibits specific quotas for the hiring of local residents.  Fortunately, Norton said, 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.  D.C. residents comprise roughly 10% of the region’s population, offering a reasonable minimum baseline.  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 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) headquarters project in 2009.  The Opportunities Center is open weekdays, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  GSA staff provide 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.

At the Lafayette Building modernization, Grunley Construction reported that 19.2% of employees were D.C. workers.  This project has held steady at a reasonably high level of D.C. residents employed, having never fallen below 18% since Norton began collecting data on the site.  There were no small businesses contracted at the Lafayette Building project because work will be winding down this fall.

At the Old Post Office Building, Trump Construction reported 11.2% of total worker hours were completed by D.C. workers, an increase from 10.9% the month before.  Trump Construction has consistently reported at least 10% of contracts going to D.C. small businesses.  The hotel opened this month.

At the Harry S. Truman Building modernization, Clark Construction reported that 8.4% of employees were D.C. workers.  The employees are currently working in an occupied wing of the building, which limits the number of construction workers on site.  However, late this summer, two wings became entirely vacant and available for construction work, and Norton said that she will be looking to see an increase in D.C. workers hired as updated employment reports come in.

At the DHS headquarters construction project at St. Elizabeths in Ward 8, Grunley reported 7.7% were D.C. workers, and General Dynamics reported 2.4% were D.C. workers.  The current period of interior demolition requires a smaller workforce because it involves careful, historic preservation work, which requires increased safety measures.  General Dynamics saw a decrease in percentage of D.C. workers because one D.C. resident left the project.

With no new subcontractors from any jurisdiction hired in July at St. Elizabeths, D.C. small business representation remained the same for Grunley and General Dynamics. 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 list 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 nonetheless wants to see an increase in the number of D.C. employees and small businesses brought on by General Dynamics.

Norton said she expects increased opportunities for small businesses at St. Elizabeths when the interior work in the Center Building is finalized.  In the next year, work also will begin on the new access road to support federal employee traffic, which was funded in fiscal year 2015.  Norton was able to secure $556.7 million for DHS consolidation in the fiscal year 2016 appropriations bill, which will mean more work for D.C. residents and D.C. small businesses.

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 July 2016
Grunley Construction Design/Build of the Historic Center Building 23 of 299 (7.7%)
General Dynamics DHS Technology Integration Program (TIP) 2 of 82 (2.4%)
CW Resources Custodial and Related Services 73*

* No percentage of employees reported

Old Post Office Building

Contractor Total D.C. Residents Employed as percentage of total as of July 2016
Trump Construction 109,507 man hours of 984,658 man hours (11.2% of total)

 Other Large D.C. Federal Projects

Contractor Project Total D.C. Residents Employed as percentage of total as of July 2016
Grunley Construction Lafayette Building Modernization 20 of 104 (19.2%)
Clark Construction Harry S. Truman Modernization 24 of 285 (8.4%)



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