The Illinois Department of Transportation has launched an initiative to increase participation of minority- and women-owned companies in state contracts.
The agency is conducting workshops to provide information for small businesses, and a step-by-step guide to the state's contracting process.
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Last year, IDOT awarded more than $344 million in contracts to minority- and women-owned firms. That's nearly 16 percent of the total contract awards that year and department officials would like to increase that.
Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider says outreach and assistance can help keep companies with the skills and capabilities to do the work from running into obstacles with the contracting process.