Minneapolis, Minn. (March 5, 2010) – U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison (DFL-5) announced last week that the Minnesota Department of Transportation will receive nearly $900,000 from the Federal Highway Administration to boost the growth of 145 under-utilized Disadvantaged Business Enterprise firms.“These funds are exactly what the 5th Congressional District’s economy needs right now and I am thrilled the Federal Highway Administration recognizes that our economy thrives when all our communities do,” Ellison said.
The objective of the program is to increase the capacity and ability of Disadvantaged Business Enterprise firms to successfully participate on heavy and highway construction/construction-related contracts. The DBE/Supportive Services program will provide training for newly certified and currently certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprises.
The training will enhance technical expertise of DBE firms in areas such as financial management, accounting, marketing, and risk management. Individualized guidance will be provided when necessary. MNDOT will further provide electronic bidding to DBE firms to create a level playing field in which DBEs can compete fairly for DOT contracts.
“The opportunities provided by this grant are invaluable to our Disadvantaged Business Enterprises. These projects are essential to getting our hardest hit communities and businesses back on their feet,” Ellison stated.
The DBE/Supportive Service program is authorized under the nondiscrimination statue at 23 U.S.C. 140(c), which authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to develop, conduct, and administer training and assistance programs to increase the proficiency of minority businesses to compete, on an equal basis, for contracts and subcontracts.
This program is designed to work in cooperation with a number of organizations, including departments and agencies of State and Federal Governments, Indian tribal governments, profit and nonprofit corporations, and other organizations, as well as with individuals.