The Illinois Department of Transportation has increased its goals for workforce diversity and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise use. IDOT is committed to increasing both the number of minority-owned businesses participating in its projects and the availability of minority craft persons throughout the construction industry. To help achieve those goals, IDOT has provided the following resources – generally, and specifically for the New Mississippi River Bridge.
General Illinois Resources
- Bureau of Small Business Enterprise
- The bureau administers the Illinois DBE program. The program’s goal is to provide contracting opportunities to small businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals in Federal Highway Administration funded projects.
- Illinois DBE Resource Center
- The DBE Resource Centers are one-stop shops that offer programs, advice and assistance for DBE firms in Illinois. IDOT has two centers –one in Chicago and one in East St. Louis.
- Illinois Contract Compliance Officers
- If people have concerns about contract compliance issues, they should contact the one of the listed individuals in the IDOT district.
- DBE Supportive Services
- IDOT offers various types of free technical and management assistance for DBE firms. Consultants can offer training in various technical tasks, to include estimating, bidding, plans and specification reading, as well as management tasks to include certification, business plan reviews, marketing strategy, networking with prime contractors and expanding business.
- Contractor’s Market Place
- The Contractor’s Market Place is a forum for prime contractors, subcontractors and suppliers who want to do business with IDOT.
- Mentor-Protégé Program
- The Mentor-Protégé Program helps further develop DBE business owners. Under the Mentor-Protégé program, a prime contractor (the Mentor) is able to reduce the established DBE goal, on approved projects, by 5 percent if they use the protégé on a set amount of the project. The program is a pilot program which began in Illinois in 2007.
Illinois Worforce Resources
- Workforce Supportive Services
- IDOTS Contract Compliance Officers also assist with on-the-job training issues, helping link socially and economically disadvantaged individuals with available pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship and on-the-job work experience and providing assistance with necessary construction work-related clothing, boots and tools.
- Highway Construction Preparatory Training Program
- The Highway Construction Preparatory Training Program in Illinois was opened in September of 2008. It is a program that was designed to help ensure that a diversified, properly trained highway construction workforce was available for future road construction projects including the MRB Project. Students participating in this construction training program must complete an 8-week (160 hour) hands-on, performance based training that includes a mandatory reading and basic mathematics primer.