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Senator Brown, Local and State Officials to Host Inclusion Forum

Economic Inclusion Forum to focus on engaging Northeast Ohio’s minority populations

GARFIELD HEIGHTS (Tuesday, March 29, 2011)The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), Senator Sherrod Brown and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson are hosting the first-ever forum on economic inclusion in the public sector focused on infrastructure and transportation.

Elected officials and public agency leaders have been invited to take part in a working session which will focus on Northeast Ohio’s goal of economic inclusion and job creation for women, minorities and small businesses.  The invitation only event will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 31 on the campus of Cleveland State University in the Nance College of Business Main Auditorium.

With $689 million in active transportation projects taking place in the greater Cleveland region, federal and state agencies will pay out approximately $200 million in transportation funds this year alone.  Additional infrastructure and planned developments, including the I-90 Innerbelt Bridge, bring that number to over $2 billion in the next five years.  

Many of these developments rely on public funds and public agencies. Ensuring supplier diversity and inclusion on each project is a top priority.  

“Now is the most important time to focus on sustainable economic development. If we do not improve our engagement of small businesses, we are not serving our economic goals at all,” said ODOT Deputy Director Myron S. Pakush.  “This is not about programs or hand-outs – it’s about the smart purchasing of goods and services from qualified, professional companies who happen to be minority owned.”

Officials are invited to share best practices about how they are currently improving access to opportunities for small and disadvantaged firms as well as collectively leverage the historic transportation and infrastructure projects that can bolster our region’s economic inclusion efforts.

This session will create connectivity among and between elected officials, public agencies and project owners and construction firms around the issue of economic inclusion in transportation and infrastructure.  


For more information contact:
Dr. Rachel Talton at 216.431.0008 or email