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More ODOT dollars going to women and minority owned businesses

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Office of Equity and Civil Rights

ODOT exceeds disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) contracting goal

For more information, contact Diponker Mukherjee, DBE Program Manager, (971) 283-4636 or Sally Ridenour, ODOT Communications, (503) 576-9577

We invest millions of dollars annually on projects and programs meant to improve the transportation system. These projects benefit the state’s construction, engineering and technical industries. Systemic and process barriers often make it harder for minority and women owned firms to compete for our contracts. We’re working to change that and this year, more dollars are going to disadvantaged businesses than ever before.

Disadvantaged business enterprises include small businesses that are at least 51% owned by:
• Minorities: Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans and Subcontinent Asian Americans;
• Women;
• Other individuals on a case-by-case basis.

ODOT develops an overall annual goal for DBE participation in federally-funded contracts every three years. This year’s goal, set in 2019, was 15.37%. For fiscal year 2022 (Oct. 2021 to Sept. 2022) 22.44% of our federally funded contracting work went to DBEs. That is $199 million.

“For every $100 ODOT spends on infrastructure construction, $22.4 goes to disadvantaged businesses,” said DBE Program Manager Diponker Mukherjee. “That is money going to our communities.”

“For every $100 ODOT spends on infrastructure construction, $22.4 goes to disadvantaged businesses,” said DBE Program Manager Diponker Mukherjee. “That is money going to our communities.”

“I’m extremely proud of the work the Office of Equity and Civil Rights has done in helping us to achieve this critical goal,” said Assistant Director for Social Equity Erika McCalpine. “While we know next year’s goal is larger, we need to pause to celebrate this win. It is very important to ODOT because it shows that we are diligently working toward providing more opportunities to all business owners, which in turn provides more work to Oregonians.”

“We couldn’t have achieved this goal without the help of our partners including industry groups, local and federal agencies and advocacy organizations.” said Mukherjee. “Without them there’s no program. The primary construction contractors and the DBEs make it happen.”

Together, ODOT and our partners worked on identifying obstacles in the contracting process. Now we’re working on eliminating those obstacles.

Removing barriers

There are systemic barriers to minority-owned and woman-owned businesses getting contracts for transportation projects. DeAngelo Moaning with Raimore Construction explains some of those barriers in this video.

While programs exist to encourage equitable distribution of economic opportunities, we can do better. That starts with reducing or eliminating barriers. This will benefit everyone — more money to Oregon’s vital construction industry and better transportation projects that reflect communities.

Working with our partners, we’re taking actions to ensure DBEs are successful in doing business with ODOT. The Mentor Protégé Program, Business Development Program, technical training, bonding and financial assistance are just a few of those programs.

Next year’s goal is even higher.

A disparity study is used to help set goals for the next three years. Our most recent study led us to set a goal of 23.43% effective Oct. 1, 2022.

“We’re going to get there; it’s evolving in the right direction,” said Mukherjee. “Although we’ve made great progress, we can and will do better. We have some great educational and hands-on training opportunities coming up in 2023.”

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