Illinois Department of Transportation, Ann L. Schneider, Secretary
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Patrick J. Quinn, Governor
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 29, 2011

CONTACT: 
Guy Tridgell 312.814.4693
Josh Kauffman 217.558.0517

IDOT Advances Diversity Goals on State Highway Projects

Study to Help Set Benchmarks for Minority Participation in Road Construction

CHICAGO – September 29, 2011. The Illinois Department of Transportation today announced the release of a new study that will help the agency revise minority participation goals for state highway projects. The study updates benchmarks established a decade ago and further demonstrates Governor Pat Quinn’s commitment to increasing diversity on projects statewide.

“We want a diverse, qualified workforce building our roads,” said Acting Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “The release of this study shows much work needs to be done, but we are making progress to remove whatever barriers still exist so our highway projects are even more inclusive.”

Since taking office in 2009, Governor Quinn and IDOT have started or expanded several programs through new and existing laws designed to encourage and increase participation in the state’s Disadvantages Business Enterprise (DBE) program. Today, the share of IDOT contracts held by DBE firms averages 17 percent, a figure that has increased almost six percentage points the last two years.


Earlier this year, Governor Quinn announced the Target Market Program, which identifies state-funded projects for bidding by minority and women-owned firms. Other initiatives undertaken by the Quinn administration include opening DBE resource centers in each of IDOT’s nine districts, expanding supportive technical services and support to small businesses and establishing the first federally-approved mentoring program to partner prime contractors with DBE firms interested in becoming subcontractors.

Additional proactive measures taken by Governor Quinn and IDOT include forming regional Diversity Economic Councils to assist in attracting greater DBE participation on major projects and hosting professional networking events between prime contractors and potential DBE subcontractors.

At the direction of Governor Quinn in 2009, IDOT initiated the study released today to examine disparities between the availability of contractors that qualify to participate in the DBE program and those firms that are actually participating. The study covered all highway projects in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Based on the research, the study determined that DBE firms are available to accommodate a maximum of 29.24 percent of all IDOT contracts. The current goal, established through a similar study prepared in 2002, is 22.77 percent.

The complete study is available at http://www.dot.il.gov/press/DBEDisparityStudy.pdf.

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