U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, a Buffalo native, received a standing ovation in his hometown Tuesday as he spoke about the importance of workforce development at Bennett High School. Perez stressed the importance of hiring local residents for taxpayer-funded construction projects.
“We can make sure that the residents of Buffalo and Erie County participate in our prosperity. Inclusive growth is what we’re all about,” he said.
Perez’s visit comes amid growing concern that communities of color aren’t being included in the opportunities created by the city’s construction boom. The local construction trades, whose members staff many major public works projects, have made little headway in recruiting a more diverse workforce.