DDC Announces First Contract Awarded for M/WBE Mentoring Program

Department of Design and Construction Logo Image Credit: DDC

On March 13, 2023, Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Thomas Foley announced the first contract available exclusively for participants in the Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) Mentoring Program was awarded. 

The mentoring program was announced in November 2021, and participants receive detailed assistance from industry experts, networking opportunities, training and resources on working with City agencies, and the opportunity to bid on exclusive projects. The program operates in two four-year tiers. In Tier 1, participants have the opportunity to bid on exclusive projects valued up to $1.5 million. In Tier 2, or the Graduate Mentoring Program, participants can compete for projects valued up to $3 million. The first cohort had 49 participating firms, and over 250 firms applied. 

The first exclusive contract went to Approved General Contracting of Mineola, NY, which is owned by Jose Fernando Garcia. The project is to investigate and document the structural integrity of the Bellevue Men’s Shelter in Manhattan for a future project to reconstruct the shelter’s atrium. Garcia stated, “I’m thankful to be selected as part of the first cohort for DDC’s new M/WBE Mentoring Program. The Program offers great tools for minorities and small businesses such as support from consultants and project managers. Firms now have opportunities to be a general contractor on a project instead of a subcontractor. If a firm or small business is genuinely interested and ready to work with the City, opportunities are available. You have to work hard and show your worth as you would in any other industry. Take pride in the work being done and make sure that you are consistent and meticulous from start to finish on projects.”

Applications for the second cohort of the mentorship program will be open from April 3 to May 15. To qualify, firms in the construction industry must have been in business for at least one year and must be certified by the Department of Small Business Services as an M/WBE or a “small business.” For the program, “small businesses” constitute non-M/WBE firms with average annual gross earnings between $150,000 and $500,000 during the last three calendar years. 

Mayor Adams stated, “Equity is at the center of our administration’s vision for the city’s economic recovery. This first-of-its-kind program is yet another example of our administration’s commitment to expanding opportunities for our minority- and women-owned business owners and workers. With this program, we are giving M/WBEs the tools to compete for city contracts and grow their business while advancing the inclusive recovery New York City needs.”

DDC Commissioner Foley stated, “The response to our new Mentoring Program has been remarkable and we are thrilled to have awarded our first contract under the program. Government contracting is a valuable business opportunity and companies want to know how to compete for those contracts and how to complete them successfully and efficiently. By helping M/WBEs and smaller firms we are not only correcting historic inequities but we’re increasing competition for our contracts and making ourselves more responsive to the needs of all the different communities we serve. We will continue to find ways to promote these firms and expand the industry.”

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)


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