Sunday, June 13, 2010

Championing Workforce Diversity

kcICON Project team member Jontell Jones was bestowed the 2010 Rosa Parks Award at the Metro Organization for Racial and Economic Equity’s fifth annual Imagine Banquet held June 10 at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center.

MORE2’s Rosa Parks Award is given to individuals or companies who exemplify the courage to stay the course and change the inequity in the metro area.

Just over two years ago, Jones, 28, with two children, was working construction jobs that paid cash and provided no benefits. Jones was then hired by Paseo Corridor Constructors to participate in the On-the-Job Trainee Program offered through kcICON Project.

MoDOT provides up to $1.25 million for kcICON Project workforce training. This training is designed to create opportunities that will grow a more diverse workforce in the Kansas City region and to increase the number of minority, female and economically disadvantaged individuals working across the state of Missouri. There are currently 35 On-the-Job Trainees employed on the kcICON Project. Jones is one of 14 individuals to date who have graduated from the program.

Jones, now a Quality Assurance Technician, has completed over 2,000 hours of training in heavy highway construction. During his acceptance speech, Jones said, “It feels good to go from having a job to having a career.”

Jones thanked MORE2, MoDOT and the supervisors and co-workers at Paseo Corridor Constructors who have guided him through the training process. “I am grateful for the support I have received on the project, and grateful to be able to represent others, like myself, in the community who can excel if given the chance.”

The $245 million kcICON project will reconstruct/rehabilitate 4.7 miles of Interstate 29/35 from just north of Route 210/Armour Road in North Kansas City into the northeast corner of the downtown Kansas City, Mo. freeway loop. The project includes improving outdated interchanges and the construction of the Christopher S. Bond Bridge – a new landmark, cable-stay Missouri River Bridge. Additional information is available on the project’s Web site: or on Facebook “kcICON Project.”