Diversity in our workforce and business partnerships is crucial to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). One of our greatest strengths is diversity of IDOT's workforce, where men and women of different nationalities, races and backgrounds work together to build a world-class, multi-modal transportation system in Illinois. IDOT believes in the development of human capital through specific skill sets needed to ensure that the current and future transportation industry workforce can meet industry and societal demands. We also are dedicated to increasing the participation of minority and women-owned businesses on transportation contracts. At IDOT, we realize that in order for Illinois businesses to compete in the global economy and remain competitive, transportation infrastructure needs to be ready. In order to become a regional and national transportation leader, we use diversity and inclusion as the building blocks to create a culture where we draw strength and knowledge from our differences. We utilize diverse, ready, willing and able individuals in our workforce and firms to work with us because we believe that diversity of new ideas and perspectives drawn from different cultural and racial backgrounds can help address current challenges and solve future transportation problems for all users.
IDOT supportive services consultants offer free technical and management assistance for disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) firms. Consultants working with IDOT can offer training in technical tasks, to include estimating, bidding, plans and specifications reading, as well as management tasks to include certification, business plan reviews, marketing strategies, networking with prime contractors and expanding businesses. Firms do not have to be DBE-certified to attend these workshops.
IDOT partnered with other state agencies for the Winning with the State program, implemented in 2013 and designed to quickly provide information or requirements and qualifications to small businesses and other constituents.
More than 300 prime contractors, DBEs, and exhibitors attended the 24th Today’s Challenge, Tomorrow’s Reward conference sponsored by IDOT each February.
IDOT hired more than 400 new full-time employees in 2013 (26 percent minorities and 22 percent women), 58 of whom were recruited by Diversity Recruitment and Outreach.
IDOT continues to be a leader in the transportation industry and understands that a strong transportation system enables a strong economy. The department proactively looks to ensure its business processes, including those that span the construction industry - in Illinois and the Midwest. On February 27, 2014, the Hispanic American Construction Industry (HACIA) presented IDOT with its Advocacy Award for IDOT's dedication and leadership in providing new opportunities to and supporting the growth of Hispanic construction related businesses across Illinois.
On July 24th, 2015, IDOT held a Public Hearing from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. to consult with minority, women’s and general contractor groups, community organizations, and other officials or organizations which could be expected to have information concerning the availability of disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged businesses, the effects of discrimination on opportunities for DBEs, and the Department’s efforts to establish a level playing field for the participation of DBEs.
The Public Hearing streamed over the internet live. Click here to view an archive copy of the hearing.
IDOT recently launched the application process for its new Disadvantaged Business Revolving Loan Program created by legislation in 2013.
A new DBE resource center opened in Chicago’s south suburbs in 2013 and the ongoing Highway Construction Careers Training Program has added two new schools. These types of resources and programs help current and prospective business partners learn more about IDOT’s business processes and prepare them for careers in the transportation industry.
Chicago Urban League Transportation Apprenticeship Training Program, a collaborative effort among Chicago-area community organizations, and the Apprenticeship Skill and Improvement Program of Local 150, and the Chicagoland Laborers District Council Trainers and Apprenticeship Fund are designed to increase the training and participation of minority groups, disadvantaged persons and females in all phases of the highway construction industry.