By SHERI GASSAWAY
Millstone Weber, the union contractor recently awarded the $246 million Interstate 270 North Project, is asking Missouri Women in Trades (MOWIT) for assistance in helping the company meet the state requirements for its female construction workforce.
Three representatives from the full-service heavy construction company attended the February MOWIT Tradeswomen Meet-up in St. Louis to discuss the Missouri Department of Transportation project. Construction is scheduled to begin in April and end Dec. 1, 2023.
“We’re hoping to hand the project over to them before the deadline of Dec. 1, 2023 because we’re going to have some superior women, people of color and other marginalized workers out there turning that highway in ahead of schedule and under budget,” said Vivian Martain, Millstone Weber civil rights compliance manager.
BEST YOU HAVE TO OFFER
“We’re coming to MOWIT to glean from your membership the best that you have to offer and hoping that you can help us by speaking to students in a STEM program we have consisting of 12 schools in North County to bring them into construction and the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.”
The project entails widening over eight miles along 270 North, just west of Lindbergh Boulevard to Bellefontaine Road, said Chris Wilmes, Millstone Weber business development manager. All the bridges will be replaced and retaining walls will be installed along the corridor.
FOUR YEARS OF WORK IN ONE PLACE
“I think it’ll be middle of summer before we really get rocking and rolling,” he said explained to the group of about 30. “But it’s a four-year project, and if you get on a job like this, you have four years of work in one place.”
Specifically, the main crafts the company will be hiring for include operating engineers, laborers and carpenters, Wilmes said. Other work will be outsourced to subcontractors, which will also be required to provide a 6.9 percent female workforce.
Martain said she served a short time on MOWIT’s executive board in the early years while she was executive director of the Construction Prep Center. She said the center graduated over 1500 people and put them in the construction field.
“Ladies, let me tell you there were women in our program, and my girls hammered down with the best of them,” Martain said with a tear in her eye. “We offered first, second and third place in the graduating class, and every time a woman graduated, she was one, two or three every time.
‘WE’RE GOING TO EXCEED …AND DO BETTER’
“I’m looking to MOWIT to give me more of what we know we already have. We have a goal on this project of hiring 6.9 percent women. We’re going to exceed that and do better, and the only way we can do it is with your help.”
The project is expected to have over one-half million work hours and the requirement of 6.9 percent women is per trade, Wilmes noted. Of those hours, 14.7 percent must be minorities, and Millstone Weber typically does not have problems addressing the minority requirement.
MOWIT President Beth Barton said the board is looking forward to helping Millstone Weber with the project.
Tradeswomen already working in the field can apply for positions with Millstone Weber at millstoneweber.com.