ODOT targets New Federal Funds to encourage Ohio Women and Minorities to enter Highway Construction Industry
COLUMBUS (Thursday, September 30, 2010) - To encourage more women and minorities in Ohio to enter the highway construction industry, the Ohio Department of Transportation is targeting new funding - including federal stimulus funds - into new on-the-job training efforts across the state.
“Ohio is a state full of great talent and great diversity, and Ohio’s highway construction industry should reflect that great diversity,” said ODOT Director Jolene M. Molitoris. “Over the next year, we will work with our industry partners to creating a diverse workforce pool that includes more women and minorities, especially in those skilled and semi-skilled crafts such as masonry and carpentry.”
ODOT has been awarded$568,354 in new federal funds - along with an additional $318,000 in federal stimulus funds - to assist Ohio Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms and promote training opportunities for women and minorities.
In addition to developing a Transportation Career Institute aimed at training opportunities for women and minorities, these new federal funds will also be used to launch a new DBE Capacity Building Academy - with a goal of improving the technical capacity of 20 DBE firms across the state to compete for state transportation construction work.
ODOT will also provide targeted one-on-one professional consultant services to approximately 30 DBE firms in the areas of marketing, business development, and accounting.
Director Molitoris will soon approve ODOT’s financial partnership - as much as $150,000 - with the Hard Hatted Women, a Cleveland-based non-profit organization that helps women explore, pursue and excel in careers in high-wage, high-skill industries. The Hard Hatted Women are launching a “Women in Ohio Roadways and Rail Construction Consortium” on-the-job training effort aimed at getting women in training and apprenticeship programs.
“These investments are just the start. ODOT is putting its dollars where its commitments are, by investing more in minority and women-owned businesses,” added Director Molitoris.
Over the past year, ODOT and its local transportation partners invested more than $178 million in construction contracts and subcontracts with DBE firms and companies - the largest amount in state history. For perspective, ODOT alone will invest $133 million - which is more than double the $70 million invested by the department in 2004.
In the last four years, ODOT has worked to increase the amount of investment going to DBE sub-contractors. For 2010, that number is at an all-time high of nearly 30%. The four-year average is 25.5 % - which means one out of every four dollars spent by prime contractors on sub-contracted work goes to a DBE firm.
Across the state, 650 DBE firms are certified to do work with any state or local agency. Of that number, 401 are recognized as female-owned. Out of the 401 firms that are female-owned, 119 are registered for at least one type of construction work with ODOT.
More information about ODOT’s Division of Equal Opportunity can be found online at www.transportation.ohio.gov.
For more information contact:
Scott Varner, ODOT Central Office Communications, at 614-644-8640