I was walking by a construction site in the Wellen Park area of North Port, Florida. It is a growing area, with homes priced $400,000. At other construction sites that involved building homes, I had noticed work crews comprised of mostly Hispanic workers. This site was different. The construction work appeared to be focused on clearing the vacant land and laying drainage/sewage pipes and possible electrical connections. But, at this site I noticed an absence of minority representation. Several miles away there is a project involving the widening of a road. A 6 mile 52 million dollar project. At that site the only minority worker I saw was a black man given the task of holding a sign to stop and slow traffic. There were no visible workers operating the machinery that requires specialized skills.
I photographed the name of the construction company doing the work at Wellen Park. After locating a point of contact, I wrote them via email asking was there a path by which minorities could get a foot in the door with their company, Phillips and Jordan. The company prides itself on being owned by a European American female. The response I received was to receive email notifications of the job openings within the company. But, most of the jobs involved foreman or jobs requiring specialized skills. Only 1-3 involved entry level type positions. I wrote them again last week, pointing out the high requirements of the open positions and asked again was there a program designed to allow minorities or other disadvantaged people to build a career for themselves in the construction business? My point being that one opportunity could change the lives of a family that for generations been stuck in a cycle of poverty or hopelessness. I have yet to receive a response to my second inquiry.
The construction business has long been monopolized by white males. Drive to any construction site and observe who works there. Note the European American flavor to the workers on site? So why is this industry monopolized by European American workers? Are black and other minorities excluded from getting a foot in the door on purpose? If so, racism still does exist.