Skip to page content
Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
Bookmark and Share

Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)

 

OFCCP’s Mega Construction Project Program
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

  1. Why does OFCCP need a program to promote equal employment opportunity in the construction trades?
  2. How is the expanded Mega Construction Project Program different from what OFCCP has done previously with mega construction projects?
  3. How does OFCCP define a “mega construction project”?
  4. What does OFCCP do during an MCP that is part of the Program?
  5. Are contractors required to participate in MCPs?
  6. How will community groups be involved in the MCPs? What types of groups will be involved?
  7. Are contractors that participate in MCPs subject to OFCCP compliance evaluations?
  8. How are construction projects chosen to be part of OFCCP’s Mega Construction Project Program?
  9. How does OFCCP measure the success of an MCP?
  10. Is OFCCP planning to revise its construction regulations to update the goals for women and minorities?
  11. If not, why not?
  12. Are construction contractors required to make good-faith efforts to meet the minority goals in the OFCCP’s existing regulations, even though those goals are based on the 1970 Census?

 


 

1. Why does OFCCP need a program to promote equal employment opportunity in the construction trades?

Jobs in construction trades require skills, dedication, and commitment, and in return provide decent wages, benefits, and the satisfaction of being part of a growing middle class that provides families with the dignity of work and a sense of worth and pride. Yet for the past 40 years and continuing, sex and race disparities in employment in the trades have persisted. In 2015, only 2.7 percent of workers in construction and extraction occupations were women; only 6.9 percent and 1.3 percent were African American and Asian American, respectively. While Hispanic representation was relatively high at 33.3 percent, Hispanics faced other challenges, such as segregation into lower-paying construction occupations (for example, Hispanics were 45.5 percent of construction laborers but only 19.3 percent of electricians). Recognizing that the construction trades are a pathway to the middle class, women and minorities have long pushed for opening up these jobs to a more diverse population of workers.

 


 

2. How is the expanded Mega Construction Project Program different from what OFCCP has done previously with mega construction projects?

By devoting more resources to the Mega Construction Project (MCP) Program, OFCCP will ensure that equal opportunity is embedded in the design of some of the most significant construction projects funded by taxpayer dollars and that the commitment to equal opportunity continues throughout the life of these projects. For the first time, OFCCP is aligning agency policies, procedures, staffing, and funding at the national level and across all regions to institutionalize the MCP Program. Specifically, OFCCP is —

  • designating a national MCP Program coordinator;
  • institutionalizing national office oversight;
  • adding staff with expertise to the regional MCP Program teams to maximize recruitment, identify discrimination and overcome barriers to opportunity in the construction trades;
  • increasing the number of MCPs it is conducting; and
  • expanding the resources available to support the Program.

These changes will make OFCCP’s oversight of and engagement with some of this nation’s largest federally funded and federally assisted construction projects significantly more effective.

 


 

3. How does OFCCP define a “mega construction project”?

To be eligible for selection as an OFCCP MCP, a project must receive federal funds or federal assistance; have a value of $25 million or more; and last for at least one year. These are high–impact, high–profile projects that have a significant economic impact on communities.

 


 

4. What does OFCCP do during an MCP that is part of the Program?

OFCCP actively —

  • engages with the funding entity as early as possible, before the prime contract and subcontracts are awarded;
  • provides on–going, intensive technical assistance to educate all the contractors on the mega project about their equal employment opportunity (EEO) and affirmative action obligations;
  • identifies and regularly engages with local and regional sources of qualified trades workers, including organizations specializing in job training of members of underrepresented communities, unions, apprenticeship and pre–apprenticeship programs, community colleges, and job banks;
  • ensures that these worker sources have timely information about upcoming job opportunities on the MCP and can build appropriate pipelines of qualified workers;
  • facilitates relationships between the contractors and the community, through regular EEO Committee meetings, job fairs, and other mechanisms;
  • regularly reviews data that contractors provide about their utilization of underrepresented groups on the project;
  • provides technical assistance to help expand outreach;
  • conducts compliance evaluations of contractors on the mega project that meet specified neutral criteria;
  • partners with other federal, state, and local government agencies to provide information, linkages, and services to contractors working on the project, as well as compliance oversight; and
  • monitors conciliation agreements to ensure that contractors address any deficiencies that OFCCP has found.

 


 

5. Are contractors required to participate in MCPs?

No. MCP participation is voluntary. Contractors participate because they benefit from doing so in a number of ways. First, the regular engagement with the community that occurs during an MCP enhances participating contractors’ ability to identify qualified workers who are women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, or protected veterans. The regular engagement also strengthens linkages between contractors and unions, pre–apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs, and the community–based organizations that train workers for construction jobs. This positive impact on training benefits contractors on current projects as well as on future projects, by strengthening the pipeline of qualified construction workers ready to provide skilled labor as the construction industry continues to expand. Most important, participation in an MCP enhances the contractors’ preparedness for OFCCP compliance evaluations and makes it more likely that they will be in compliance.

 


 

6. How will community groups be involved in the MCPs? What types of groups will be involved?

In an MCP, OFCCP will proactively search out community–based organizations (CBOs) that can help contractors working on the MCP identify qualified trades workers who are women, minorities, and, if the project is federally funded, individuals with disabilities and protected veterans. These may be employment–services providers, pre–apprenticeship programs run by community–based organizations, community colleges that partner with joint apprenticeship programs, faith–based communities, or worker centers that provide English–as–a–second–language classes to workers in the evenings. They may be private or state or local programs that the Department of Labor funds, like American Job Centers, YouthBuild, and Job Corps. OFCCP will link these groups to the contractors working on the MCP through EEO Committee meetings held at least quarterly, where contractors, unions, and CBOs meet face–to–face, contractors learn what kinds of workers and services the CBOs provide, CBOs and unions learn the kinds of trades for which contractors will be hiring in both the near and more distant future so that they can plan their training and other programming accordingly, and CBOs learn how to help their beneficiaries apply for openings in union apprenticeship programs. At these meetings, the contractors, CBOs, unions, and government agencies may also brainstorm ideas for increasing the supply and placement of qualified trades workers in the area. OFCCP will also facilitate linkages among contractors, unions, and CBOs via one–on–one introductions, job fairs, and other community events.

In addition, community groups may suggest large federal construction projects for inclusion in OFCCP’s MCP Program.

 


 

7. Are contractors that participate in MCPs subject to OFCCP compliance evaluations?

All MCP prime contractors that employ trades workers directly are subject to compliance evaluations. In addition, on each MCP, OFCCP uses neutral selection criteria to select some or all of the subcontractors for review.

 


 

8. How are construction projects chosen to be part of OFCCP’s Mega Construction Project Program?

Each region selects its MCPs pursuant to a neutral selection procedure. As of August 1, 2016, 27 OFCCP offices were conducting a total of 35 MCPs around the country, with an estimated combined total value of almost $29.5 billion. By the end of FY 2017, OFCCP anticipates increasing this number by as much as one–third.

 


 

9. How does OFCCP measure the success of an MCP?

The objective of any MCP is to ensure that the contractors working on the project provide equal employment opportunity for women and minorities and, where applicable, individuals with disabilities and protected veterans (OFCCP has jurisdiction to enforce Section 503 and VEVRAA only in construction projects that receive federal funds, not those that are federally assisted). OFCCP considers a number of factors to assess whether that objective is being achieved, including the level of engagement of the contractors working on the MCP and the community stakeholders; the steps that the prime contractor takes to ensure that the subcontractors are providing equal opportunity; the number and kinds of violations found in compliance evaluations of the contractors on the MCP; the transparency of the MCP contractors’ process for hiring trades workers; the number, kinds, and compensation of the trades positions filled by underrepresented groups; and the hours of work done by women and members of specific minority groups in each of the trades on the project, compared to the published OFCCP goals and to their availability in the relevant geographic recruitment area.

 


 

10. Is OFCCP planning to revise its construction regulations to update the goals for women and minorities?

Not at this time. The MCP Program focuses on engagement and compliance in lieu of revised regulations. OFCCP has not set an updated timetable for issuance of an NPRM revising its construction regulations at this time.

 


 

11. If not, why not?

Without the kind of intensive engagement that occurs in MCPs, updating the goals for women and minorities in OFCCP’s regulations would not likely increase the number of women and minorities gaining employment opportunities in the trades. Many contractors are not reaching the goals currently in effect. There are many reasons for this, including skills disparities, lack of role models, barriers to getting training, barriers to finding out about available jobs, insufficient numbers of qualified trades workers in some geographic areas, continuing discrimination, and other hurdles to participation in the trades. Addressing this complex problem requires the kind of multi–pronged, sustained approach that the MCP Program provides.

 


 

12. Are construction contractors required to make good-faith efforts to meet the minority goals in the OFCCP’s existing regulations, even though those goals are based on the 1970 Census?

Both the published minorities’ goals and the women’s goal of 6.9 percent in the existing regulations remain in effect, and construction contractors must make good–faith efforts to meet those goals. These goals are not quotas, and OFCCP does not find contractors to have violated Executive Order 11246 if they fail to meet the goals. The required good–faith efforts must be at least as extensive as those set forth in the Standard Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Construction Contract Specifications (Executive Order 11246), 41 CFR §60–4.3(a), which are incorporated into every covered construction contract and subcontract.

In addition, construction contractors are required to provide equal employment opportunity for all individuals. In assessing whether contractors have done so, OFCCP uses updated data, which it analyzes for each race/ethnic group. Among other things, OFCCP evaluates the percentage of hours worked by each minority group and the contractor’s hiring and placement practices and decisions, using the applicant/referral records contractors are required to maintain, as well as payroll and other records. As appropriate, evaluations will rely on current data about the proportion of qualified workers from each group in the relevant geographic area.