Illinois Department of Transportation, Erica Borggren, Acting Secretary
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Patrick J. Quinn, Governor
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  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 3, 2013

CONTACT:
Paris Ervin 217.782.5025
Jae Miller 312.814.4693

Quinn Administration Continues Push to Increase Contract Opportunities for Minority-Owned and Women-Owned Businesses.

CHICAGO —As part of Governor Pat Quinn’s efforts to expand opportunities for minority contractors, Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider today announced the second Winning with the State forum, a groundbreaking initiative geared towards boosting participation of minority- and women-owned firms in state contracts.

“It makes good business sense, as minorities and women are rapidly increasing their presence and influence in the economy. We want to support and retain these growing small businesses, and give them every chance to succeed as good business partners,” said Governor Quinn. “We want to make sure women-owned and minority-owned contracting and consulting firms have fair access to contract opportunities, and that more minority and female workers can train and qualify for jobs in the transportation industry.”

“Winning with the State is one of several diversity activities held throughout the year to engage the community, provide resources, contract and procurement assistance,” said Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. This is a new outreach initiative in cooperation with other state agencies under the Quinn administration, where we host a series of business forums to make available to communities more resources, more open communication and more effective assistance to help businesses do what they need to do to qualify for contracts, understand the contracting process, build mutually beneficial relationships with majority contractors, and develop better bid proposals when contract opportunities arise.”

The Winning with the State business forum, held June 3, 2013 at Malcolm X College, follows a successful Winning with the State kick-off business forum held earlier this year at The Illinois Institute of Technology. Representatives from IDOT, the Illinois Tollway, the U.S. Department of Transportation and other key state agencies conduct workshops to quickly provide crucial information for small businesses and a step-by-step guide to the state’s contracting process, including ways of building capacity through alliances.

“We know we have a long road ahead to consistently increase the utilization numbers,” said Schneider. “But we are making good progress by continuing to encourage prospective Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) and engage current DBEs in programs that concentrate on training, and basic business functions, such as budgeting, administrative management and marketing to help minority businesses grow and become competitive.”

“Clearly, Governor Quinn’s directive and commitment have made a huge difference in Illinois in terms of improving the prospects for contracts by implementing the largest capital investment program in state history (Illinois Jobs Now!), and then leveraging the capital program by raising our sights for minority participation and increasing the training and outreach to achieve these goals,” said Schneider.

In 2012, IDOT, one of the state’s largest agencies, awarded $344.2 million in contracts to DBE firms. That figure represents 15.7 percent of the total $2.2 billion in contract awards that year. IDOT’s DBE goal is 22.77 percent.

Women-owned firms received the majority of the DBE contracts in 2012, totaling $139 million (40 percent), followed by Hispanic-owned firms with $124 million in contracts (36 percent) and African-American-owned firms, receiving nearly $50 million in contracts (14 percent).

Minority participation goals include helping new, emerging or underperforming DBE firms to acquire skills in marketing and business management. IDOT also provides resources to help DBE firms to develop more effective bid proposals, take part in training, and build business relationships that can help them qualify for contracts.

The DBE program is a federally mandated program that provides opportunities for small minority-owned and women-owned businesses to participate in contracts that are federally funded.

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