Community Opportunities and Enhancements Program
The Community Opportunities and Enhancements Program (COEP) is a City of Portland strategy to increase diversity and equity in construction contracting. The goals of the COEP are to increase the number of people of color and women in the trades and to remove barriers for construction firms owned by people of color and women so that they can successfully participate in public contracting. The program is funded by a 1% set-aside of eligible costs on all City-owned public improvement contracts. Through a series of grants, the COEP will provide workforce development and business technical assistance to accomplish its goals.
We hope to make resources available to job seekers and business owners in the summer of 2020, following a service solicitation process in the spring. In the meantime, if you’re interested in a career in the construction trades or are looking for support for your construction firm, please contact us.
CONTACT: Morgan Masterman, EMAIL OR 503-823-6839
Based on the next five years of planned public projects over $15 million, the current workforce provides only:
This shows a critical need to train more women and people of color if we are to achieve the stated workforce diversity goals in the region.
Over the past few years, there has been substantial stakeholder outreach, focus groups and reporting related to construction workforce and business support. We’ll continue to rely on the expertise of community and construction stakeholders and solicit ongoing feedback for improvement as we act on what we’ve learned and deploy resources through the COEP. The reports used in COEP grant program design identified these concepts:
- Transparent and consistent long-term investment across regional projects will help workers and businesses remain engaged and expand their capacity to participate on future projects
- Technical assistance would help M/W/DBE subcontractors to be more successful
- Investments are needed to retain people of color and women in the trades
- Additional pre-apprenticeship training program capacity is needed to meet the 5-year demand
The COEP program design includes four focus areas that align with recommendations identified in the reports (see Reference, below):
- Minority Contractor Participation Equity Committee Report (12/18)
- C2P2 (Estolano LeSar Advisors, 2018)
- Portland Metro Region Construction Workforce Market Study (WSI, Metro, 7/18)
- Needs Assessment (Synergy Resources Group, 6/18)
- Inclusive Procurement And Contracting (Emerald Cities, Policy Link, 3/18)
- CBA Pilot Evaluation Report (Framework LLC, 5/16)
- Report on CBA Pilot Projects (CBA Labor Management Community Oversight Committee, 4/16)
Solicitation Process (2020)
Frequently Asked Questions
Sign up for email updates. Under Business Services choose Community Opportunities and Enhancements Program (COEP).
A Request for Proposals is anticipated to be released in Spring 2020
The Bureau of Revenue and Financial Services is responsible for managing the COEP Fund, managing the Community Equity and Inclusion Committee and oversight of the intergovernmental agreement with Prosper Portland.
The Office of Equity and Human Rights provides technical assistance applying an equity lens to the process, programming and the outcomes for the City and Prosper Portland to ensure that the program meets its equity objectives.
Worksystems, Inc is responsible for managing contracts with service providers to deliver workforce development services.
The Community Equity and Inclusion Committee (CEIC) is a volunteer advisory and review body for compliance and equity efforts on City-owned projects between $10 and $25 million. They will also advise the city on priorities for COEP funding.
Funding for COEP will come from a 1% set aside of the eligible costs of public development projects undertaken by the City’s infrastructure bureaus.
Prosper Portland and WSI manage additional resources that will be leveraged with COEP, including business technical assistance through the Inclusive Business Resource Network, professional services for businesses (legal, marketing, bookkeeping), access to capital, training scholarships, on-the-job training, participant supports such as child care, transportation and jobsite readiness (tools, boots, etc), case management, and BOLI certified pre-apprenticeship training.
Efficiencies & Innovation
Prosper Portland and WSI currently manage grant agreements with many organizations who are possible COEP partners. The Inclusive Business Resource Network and Economic Opportunity Program provide existing structures to seamlessly manage additional grant agreements and monitor program outcomes as part of larger citywide business and workforce development efforts. Additionally, both agencies have robust client tracking and reporting systems that will be utilized for COEP.
Program Management and Development Expertise
Both agencies manage multi-million-dollar programs with numerous grantees and multiple complex, interconnected funding streams. Staff have experience developing and improving programs and creating efficiencies.
Capacity Building for Providers
Prosper Portland has managed capacity building grants in the past, when organizations are best situated to perform the work but need some additional time and funding to initiate work. Additionally, the Inclusive Business Resource Network and Economic Opportunity Program both convene partners monthly to discuss best practices and create opportunities to develop professionally.
Prosper Portland will manage the day-to-day operations and implementation of the grant program. Prosper Portland will manage contracts with service providers, measure outcomes and support the community in accessing these services. Prosper Portland will subcontract with Worksystems, Inc (WSI) to manage the workforce development component of COEP.
2009: Disparity Study showed statistically significant underutilization of prime contractors owned by people of color and women on City construction projects
2011: Metropolitan Alliance for Workforce Equity (MAWE), a coalition of community, labor, business and equity partners, formed. MAWE developed the Model Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) template to create a framework to increase contracting and workforce opportunities for historically underserved community members.
2012: City Council approved the draft Model CBA for consideration on construction projects over $15 million and piloted the Model CBA on two Portland Water Bureau projects: the Kelly Butte Reservoir and Interstate Maintenance Facility projects.
2015: City Council directed the allocation of 1% of the hard construction costs from the Portland Building Reconstruction project for community opportunities and enhancements.
2016: The City allocated funds for community opportunities and enhancements on the Washington Park Reservoir and the Yamhill Garage projects as part of their Community Benefits Plans.
Model CBA pilot projects were completed and the Model CBA was assessed. While generally successful, City and industry stakeholders agreed that making funding available to support equity efforts on a project-by-project basis was inefficient for City bureaus distributing funds and for community organizations applying for multiple grants and reporting outcomes to multiple bureaus.
2017: City Council approved resolutions requiring the use of a Community Equity and Inclusion Plan (CEIP) for projects $10-25 million and required CBAs for projects over $25 million. To address the inefficiencies of project-by-project equity efforts, they directed staff to create the Community Opportunities and Enhancements Program and fund by collecting 1% from all City-owned construction projects.
2018: The City released a Request for Applications to utilize funds collected from the Portland Building Reconstruction, Yamhill Garage and Washington Park Reservoir. During the RFA review process, the City received feedback from the community that additional programmatic planning was needed. This feedback encouraged the City to put a hold on the grant award process.
The Portland Metro Region Construction Workforce Market Study was released. The research sought to uncover the major barriers to achieving equity and increasing diversity in the construction workforce for the Portland Metro Region. A set of recommendations for success were identified and include regional cooperation, stable funding for pre-apprenticeship programs, job site culture training, investment in ongoing supportive services and the development of more robust equity policies and practices regionally.
Metro convened stakeholders from public agencies, private industry and community-based organizations through the Construction Careers Pathway Project (C2P2) to identify strategies for providing reliable career pathways for people of color and women in the construction trades.
2019: Incorporating feedback from the 2018 RFA process, and in recognition of Prosper Portland’s extensive experience delivering complex equity-based economic development programs, the City of Portland entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (or agreement) with Prosper Portland to develop and implement the COEP.
The Community Opportunities and Enhancements Program (COEP) is one of the City of Portland’s strategies to increase diversity and equity in construction contracting. Overall, the goals of the COEP are to increase the number of people of color and women in the trades and to remove barriers for construction firms owned by people of color and women so that they can successfully participate in public contracting. The program is funded by a 1% set-aside of eligible costs on all City-owned public improvement contracts. Through a series of grants, the COEP will fund workforce development and business technical assistance to accomplish its goals.