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Construction project at Chicago’s O’Hare airport

Mayor Rahm Emanuel under pressure from community groups passed an ordinance this past February 2016, that increased the Minority Business Enterprises (MBE) and Women Business Enterprises (WBE) goals in city funded construction projects. “Chicago will only reach its full potential when every resident from every neighborhood has a chance to have a job and an opportunity to participate in our economic growth,” he stated to the media.

Earlier this month, the Public Building Commission of Chicago’s Board of Commissioners increased MBE and WBE participation goals from 24 percent to 26 percent for MBE’s and from 4 percent to 6 percent for WBEs, according to a written statement.

Last year, the Public Building Commission (PBC) completed $143 million on capital construction projects achieving MBE participation of 32 percent or $46 million and WBE participation of 10 percent or $14.5 million for a total MBE/WBE participation of 42 percent or $60.5 million.

Felicia S. Davis, Executive Director of the Public Building Commission says “History has shown that the minorities and women are underrepresented in the construction industry and we want to ensure that the PBC continues to build MBE and WBE participation in our construction projects.”

The PBC’s contract provisions encourage the employment of minority and female apprentices, journey workers and laborers which has increased access to work opportunities for traditionally underutilized populations of the local labor force. In 2015 alone, 3,754 people earned more than $32 million in wages and benefits working on PBC projects.

As the newly appointed director of the PBC, Davis has vowed to ensure that the agency under her leadership reflect the diversity of the communities that make up Chicago.

The new initiative follows the recent announcement of a nearly $1.3 billion infrastructure plan for O’Hare International Airport that will create thousands of jobs. The construction of Runway 9C/27C and additional airfield projects, according to a press statement.

To be considered a MBE or WBE, a company must be 51 percent or more owned or controlled by a minority or a woman. To apply online for certification visit:


City Expands Its MBE/WBE Participation Program was originally published on chicagodefender.com

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