CINCINNATI - Leaders of the company building the new $400 million Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati said Wednesday, that do date they’ve surpassed diversity and inclusion goals.
The target is 20 percent, but the number at the end of August was 26 percent.
“We’ve awarded about $82 million in trade contracts for the project of which about $28 million has been awarded to either minority-owned contractors or women-owned contractors,” said Jim Hess, Senior Vice-President for Messer Construction.
Hess said Messer and Pendleton Construction are making great strides to reach out to smaller contractors in town to make them award of opportunities at the casino site.
“We’re trying to grow companies,” said Hess. “We’re not only trying to build the building. We’re trying to build the community and the companies within it.”
Pendleton President Dale White called the diversity numbers “very impressive.”
“It’s very important for them because the minority community is going to help hire smaller contractors and employees and grow this economy,” he said.
Both Hess and White said conversations are underway with institutions like Cincinnati State Technical and Community College to let them know what skills are needed in prospective employees.
“Training is very, very important because they’ve got to know what they’re doing,” said White. “Having the association with the local unions, Cincinnati State and the Urban League is a great step in the right direction.”
“The training is out there,” said Hess. “We just need to encourage companies to take advantage of it.”
The diversity numbers were announced during a news conference where representatives of Messer and Pendleton signed documents creating a partnership with OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) to enhance the safety of workers building the casino.
“This voluntary partnership provides all workers and contractors associated with the project the opportunity to build a relationship with OSHA through open communication, the use of their expertise and through the training programs that they make available,” said Chris Cordrey, Messer’s Safety Health and Environmental Director.
OSHA’s Cincinnati area director, Bill Wilkerson, said the agreement covers things like fall protection, struck-by injuries, electrical hazards and caught-between situations.
“It goes a little bit beyond common sense,” said Wilkerson. “If it were common sense, it wouldn’t necessarily require safety and health experts out there to do it.”
Construction of the casino is about 10 percent complete, according to Hess. Concrete towers for elevators and stairways are nearly done and the steel framework is being assembled. Work has started on the parking garage.
“Probably in about a month they’ll begin to see the exterior of the building – the skin – start to be built,” he said.
Hess added the building will be enclosed by next May with completion still scheduled for the spring of 2013.
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