by Ray Hayes

The Metro Transit System has been unsuccessful in meeting their internal goals for diversity among its private contractors.  In an effort to change their diversity numbers, guess which of the following choices Metro decided to do?

  1. Developed a new strategy to attract diverse contractors,
  2. Implement a program designed to fix the problem
  3. Bring in a consultant that could possibly identify and help solve the issue.

If you choose any of the three above……you were wrong. So what did Metro Transit decide on, I bet you’re wondering?

Metro decided to lower their diversity target for 2017. The original internal goal for the year had been for at least 25 percent of contracting dollars to be awarded to underrepresented businesses.  Since the organization was only able to reach 11 percent the leadership dropped their target to 22 percent.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) raised the issue about Metro’s lack of diverse contractors at a recent House Oversight hearing. “There are more than enough minorities here [in the Washington region] to fulfill a goal of 22 percent when you’re doing construction labor, which can go all the way from simple to very skilled labor,” Norton argued.

If Norton is correct, and there are plenty of contractors to pick from, what is the problem? In my personal opinion it simply seems to be a lack of commitment and effort on the behalf of Metro. Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld provided more insight into the companies problems. “I don’t think recently we’ve been doing a very good job of recruitment, of advertising what we do, of creating those partnerships,” Wiedefeld said. “It’s something that I will be working [on] with our people,”

Tomorrow I will be providing more feedback on this topic during my podcast series please check us out if you are interested in reading more about Metro diversity problem.