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Local trades workers rally for ability to participate in Jaguars stadium renovation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Local construction and trades workers rallied Monday in support of the $150 million city share of the community benefits agreement in the Jags stadium renovation deal.

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With the city considering investing $925 million on the stadium renovation and community benefits agreement, President of the North Florida Building and Construction Trades Council Lance Fout told Action News Jax he wants to ensure local workers aren’t cut out of the project.

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“Nobody is talking about who is gonna build the stadium of the future. I mean, we want to be part of that,” said Fout.

He and other construction and trades workers rallied outside city hall ahead of a council meeting on the stadium deal Monday calling on members to support the $300 million community benefits agreement, some of which would fund workforce development programs.

“This is all about workforce development and registered apprenticeship programs,” said Fout.

RELATED: New stadium will feature turf surface over grass, breaking long-standing Jags tradition

Fout said he wants to see that workforce development funding go towards apprenticeship programs that could be leveraged during the remodeling of the stadium.

But currently, he noted there’s no language in the deal guaranteeing local workers will be utilized.

“You know, when we drive by some of these big major projects we see a lot of out-of-town license plates. We want to see Florida license plates. We want to see Duval County license plates,” said Fout.

The mayor’s office told Action News Jax there is a plan to incorporate local apprenticeship programs during the stadium construction.

RELATED: Draft contracts reveal new details of proposed $1.7B stadium renovation

“The City of Jacksonville, Jaguars, and local construction leaders have developed a plan to increase the number of local apprentices working on the stadium renovation, and we will continue working together to grow apprenticeship participation in the largest public infrastructure investment in Jacksonville history,” said Mayor Donna Deegan in a statement sent to Action News Jax.

Still, Fout is hoping to see that commitment formally inked into the stadium deal legislation.

“Jacksonville hasn’t seen a project this size. We’ve done the courthouse. The courthouse was $450 million. Mayo Clinic, you know, another 400. This is a billion dollars bigger than this. If there’s any project to start with having apprenticeship language, it’s the stadium project,” said Fout.

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