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Chicago Dept of Procurement Services Releases Minority/Women Participation Numbers



During the economic downturn, the City of Chicago has worked to retain prior gains in, and in some instances advance, the participation of minority-owned (MBEs) and women-owned businesses (WBEs) in City contracts.



As a result, the Department of Procurement Services reports an overall increase in awards to minority-owned firms, although there was a decrease in awards to women-owned firms.



The City has continued to meet or exceed its MBE and WBE goals despite a substantial decrease in overall City spending.



"We will continue to look for new and creative ways to include MBE, WBE and DBE participation in all aspects of the City's procurement program," said Chief Procurement Officer Jamie Rhee.



MBEs received 29% of the more than $1.4 billion in contracts awarded by the City from January through September, 2009, compared to 28% for the same period in 2008. Other increases were achieved in:




  • African-American contractors realized an increase from 7% to 8% share of construction contracts awarded;




  • Hispanic participation increased in non-construction from 11% to 13%;




  • the share of MBEs in non-construction contracts increased from 23% to 26%;




  • African-American participation in DBE contracts increased from 3% to 13%




While participation levels may vary depending upon the volatility of the economy, capacity to meet specific needs and the way participation is achieved; the City continues to look for ways to ensure that local minority business communities are given a chance to participate on City projects.



The City saw an increase in federally funded awarded contracts which includes DBE contracting opportunities. The City's infrastructure departments, including the O'Hare Modernization Program and the Department of Transportation provide various opportunities for subcontractors to participate in City contracting.

Procurement Services will continue to increase and implement outreach programs throughout Chicago's business community in an effort to increase awareness on the part of majority-owned as well as MBE, WBE and DBE firms. The City's focus is to inform the vendor community of the advantages and opportunities afforded by including all of Chicago's communities in the work and business of the City. Moreover, Procurement Services will continue to work closely with the City's certification and compliance units that have moved to the City's Office of Compliance to increase the pool of businesses eligible to participate in the City's MBE, WBE and DBE programs in an expectation to increase target market opportunities.

"Our Department will continue to collaborate with other City departments, including the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, the Mayor's Office of People with Disabilities, and the Chicago Department of Aviation, as well as members of City Council and the infrastructure departments, to identify and address barriers to entry to participation encountered by MBEs and WBEs, and increase the opportunities for economic development," said Chief Procurement Officer Rhee.

Contact: Department of Procurement Services
Phone: 312-744-4900

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