The idea pertains to how to increase minority contractor participation in heavy-civil infrastructure projects for large cities with diversity initiatives.
The ‘sustainability’ link would be that this contributes to a more diverse and qualified workforce in major cities, one that is more representative of the populace than of the wealth distribution.
Many major metropolitan areas in developed countries have minority inclusion requirements, very few of them have been able to achieve their aspirational goals on a regular basis.
The ‘idea’ is a framework by which the funding that major metros set aside for their current minority inclusion programs could be allocated in such a way as to provide better accountability and incentivize the large prime heavy-civil contractors to increase their diversity metrics.
That last bit is key: Must incentivize the prime/general contractors to truly make this advance in the real marketplace.
In general, it would be: raising the professional industry education level of minority communities, closing the wealth gap between racial lines, and growing a diverse pool of profitable infrastructure service providers.
Yes, minority inclusion requirements for heavy civil projects are very common in major metropolitan areas. However almost all of them are based on tracing contractual fee amounts to companies that are registered as minority owned. They rarely include other metrics.
Funding is already in place through minority inclusion initiatives in these cities. It is driven by political will. Cities pay a premium for the civil infrastructure because of the requirements for minority inclusion. The issue is that it hasn't created the diverse workforce it was intended to, and the mechanisms being used in the marketplace to comply with the inclusion requirements do not effectively incentivize the industry to do so. The concept of this proposal is to reallocate how that minority inclusion is being measured, in such a way that it both, A) directly contributes to workforce development, and B) provides material incentive to the contractors who implement it.
The minority inclusion requirements in many cities have well develop and mature legal precedent. Many are also currently in a discernment process to revaluate their effectiveness. The board of directors for an $8B civil infrastructure industry advocacy association which has made some contacts with municipalities in the USA to discuss this. However, this concept is still in the nascent phase. Realistically, it will take 3-5 years (at the current pace) to practically implement it.