Archive for March, 2010

Job Opportunities

Here are a couple of opportunities for women- and minority-owned businesses to take part in a pair or large public projects:

Union Depot Renovation

Central Corridor LRT construction

DBE/Small business owners  are invited to meet with the six prime contractors that were pre-qualified to bid on the Central Corridor Light Rail / Civil East construction project between Union Depot in St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis.

The Meet & Greet will be held Thursday, March 18, 2010 from 2 to 5 p.m. at 375 Jackson Street, 2nd floor (Directly across from the Metropolitan Council), Saint Paul, MN 55101 (Map).

RSVP to Lynnette at 651-602-1769 or by email.

One of these six prime contractors present will be selected to construct the first half of the Central Corridor:

  • C.S. McCrossan and Ames Construction (joint venture)
  • Graham Construction Services and Kraus-Anderson (joint venture)
  • Kiewit Western Company
  • PCL Construction Services
  • Walsh Construction
  • Granite Construction Company

This is your opportunity to make an impression and to discuss what your company can bring to the table as a partner and team member. The DBE goal on this project is 15 percent.

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Kwanzaa Award Winners

Kwanzaa image

Elder Kwame McDonald (and the Wize Owl) has announced the Kwanzaa award recipients  for 2009:

UMOJA (unity) – Lisa Lissimore and Sandra Freeman

KUJICHAGULA (Self-determination) – Dennis Presley Sr. and Karen Ruth-Jarmon

UJIMA (Collective Work and Responsibility) – Dr. Beverly Hawkins and John Senar

UJAMAA (Cooperative Economics) –  Arnellia Allen  (owner of Arnellia’s) and Tracy Williams-Dillard (owner of MN Spokesman /Recorder)

NIA (Purpose) – Ron Edwards and Kemet Imhotep

KUUMBA (Creativity) – Felicia Brown and Sheree Ellis

IMANI (Faith) – Petey Mitchell and Jackie Cooper

NDUGU (Family) – John and Shelia Robinson and Steven and Lori Prioleau

MAISHA (Life Long, Long Life) – Dr. Josie Johnson,  David Goodlow, and Seba Ahmed Azzihir

A special thanks to the Cultural Wellness Center and NdCAD for their assistance in hosting the event this year, and also to Elder Atum Azzihir, Elder Bobby Hickman, Elder Mary K. Boyd, Elder Vanne Owens Hayes, Elder Jackie Fleming, Brother Gevonee Ford and Brother Mitchell Palmer McDonald.

Please let the award recipients know that they are appreciated for the work they have done and will continue to do in our community.

Creating Successful Businesses with LRT

University Avenue

University Avenue

Small businesses that can change and adapt to the challenges and opportunities of light rail transit will be more successful than those that can’t. They will survive light rail construction and make more money if they know how to prepare. How do small businesses and entrepreneurs adapt? What are the challenges? How do you prepare and increase your revenue?

Workshops to be held this week will teach small businesses and entrepreneurs how they may benefit from light rail transit. You will learn:

  • What you can do to prepare for LRT construction
  • What you can do to keep revenues up during construction
  • What you can do to bring in new customers when the light rail is running

When: Thursday, March 18, 2010
2:30- 4:30 PM (Vietnamese interpretation available)
6:00-8:00 PM (Hmong interpretation available)

Where: Lao Family Community, 320 University Ave W, St. Paul, MN

Lunch and dinner will be provided. Free and open to the public. For more information call 651-222-7798 or email

The “Creating Successful Businesses with LRT” workshops are led by Mr. Tran T. Nhon, MBA. Mr. Tran is a nationally noted expert on supplier diversity and an advocate for minority owned businesses.  He is chair of the Ramsey County Small Business Enterprises Advisory Board and a board member of the State Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans.

These workshops are supported by a grant from National CAPACD. AEDA is supported by the B.C. Gamble and P.W. Skogmo Fund of The Minneapolis Foundation, Twin Cities LISC FRAN Project, and The Saint Paul Foundation.

More information:

Asian Economic Development Association
712 University Ave W Suite 105
Saint Paul, MN 55104
651-222-7798 | http://www.aeda-mn.org

Frogtown Square Meet & Greet

Frogtown Square meet and greet

About 100 people showed up for the Frogtown Square meet and greet

Frogtown Square meet and greet 2

Frogtown Square meet and greet

On the corner of University Avenue and Dale Avenue is an empty lot where the old Saint Paul Police Western District Office used to stand. However, it will not be empty for much longer: A new mixed-use development, known as Frogtown Square, will be built there.

There was a ground breaking for the four-story project on November 23, 2009, at which Mayor Chris Coleman, City Councilman Melvin Carter and others spoke enthusiastically about the project. Greater Frogtown CDC, Model Cities, Neighborhood Development Center, and Aurora/Saint Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation have collaborated to see this mixed-use building come full circle. The ground floor of Frogtown Square will be for commercial use, approximately 10,000 square feet for shops and offices, all of which have been rented by small, minority-owned businesses in the area. The upper three floors will be affordable apartments for independent seniors.

On Feb. 22, developers held a meet-and-greet at the Central Corridor Resource Center to connect general contractors, Benson and Orth Associates/Meyer Contracting JV, with local subcontractors and residents from the neighborhood looking for construction jobs.

Nieeta Presley of ASANDC shared the hope behind the meet-and-greet between the general contractors and the subcontractors. “The development is designed to help the community grow through people working together to make things happen in their own neighborhood,” she said. “Plus, it gives an opportunity to low-income people, minorities, and women. It helps the area to become a better community by letting folks get to know each other and make a difference in their neighborhood.”

Because the project has received Section 3 funding from HUD, it is required, to the greatest extent possible, provide job training, employment and contract opportunities for low- or very-low income residents in connection with projects and activities in their neighborhoods, according to HUD.

Close to a hundred people showed up to the event and were able to meet the general contractors and get connected with those they have already subcontracted with.

Construction is set to begin in earnest later this month.

Community Roundtable

Organizer Roundtable

About 30 people attended the Organizer Roundtable on the Building Sustainable Communities project.

More than 30 attendees from 22 organizations gathered at the Model Cities Communities Room on University Avenue on February 24, 2010, to hear impassioned community leaders share their raw experiences — the triumphs and the difficulties — in realizing the true meaning of collaboration.

Collaboration, in this case, meant creating neighborhood-centric, multi-partner coalitions aligned with the Building Sustainable Communities initiative supported by Twin Cities LISC.

As part of a monthly roundtable series organized by the Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, the event, titled “Community Partnerships for Success,” drew excellent attendance according to Joan Vanhala, coalition organizer with AMS.

“I appreciated the different leaders who talked honestly about their challenges in working with coalitions towards one common goal,” said Vanhala.

Those leaders included Mari Bongiovanni, executive director, East Side Neighborhood Development Company; Staci Horwitz, program director, City of Lakes Community Land Trust; Cathy Maes, executive director, ICA Food Shelf; Judy Elling, executive director of ResourceWest in Hopkins; and Nieeta Presley, executive director, Aurora/St. Anthony Community Development Corporation.

During the two-hour session, leaders outlined the formulation of their collaborative, conveying both excitement and frustration in the challenges and rewards of developing cross-sector partnerships.

“I can see that in the different presentations, we’re at different levels of maturity, and we all came out in completely different ways,” said Bongiovanni. “We [St Paul’s East Side] needed to sit at the table for quite a while.”

After four years, Bongiovanni admitted her collaborative is still working on finding a comprehensive voice, which has slightly fragmented recently due to resident churn in a tough economy. That said, she noted the effort put forth in a multi-year process that started with informational meetings and evolved into 64 organizations sitting at a table calling each other to ask for advice and referrals.

“That was a big step,” she said. “Before we were all in our little silos and hoping that we would get funded and others wouldn’t because that would be more money for us.”

The next Organizer Roundtable will be “Race, Power and Organizing,” which will address the dynamics of race in day-to-day life, and how to integrate racial equity in campaign focus.

Race, Power and Organizing

Noon – 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 31
Rondo Community Library
461 N. Dale St.
St. Paul, MN 55103