CTA graduates first class from Green Line Small Business Initiative

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geen line small business initiative
The first graduating class of the Green Line Small Business Initiative (City of Chicago photo)

The first class has graduated from the Green Line Small Business Initiative, a program the City of Chicago says is focused on providing training and assistance to small and disadvantaged businesses enterprises (DBEs) to compete for work on improvements at four Green Line stations.

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) board chairman Terry Paterson, with CTA president Dorval R. Carter, Jr. and Mayor Rahm Emanuel presented the graduates representing 26 small businesses and DBEs from Chicago’s South and West Sides with certificates commemorating their achievements on Aug. 24.

The work relates to four stations — 51st St., Halsted, Cottage Grove and Kedzie.

“CTA infrastructure projects provide us with an opportunity to invest not only in CTA property, but in Chicago’s local businesses,” Emanuel said in a statement. “This program gives contractors the tools and education they need to bid on large-scale CTA capital investment projects, which will generate new economic opportunities that reach neighborhoods throughout Chicago.”

The program participants engaged in a five-course educational series hosted by CTA and received instruction from key CTA contractors who provided their insight on best practices, managing and understanding projects, project reporting and other subject areas. Training for new participants will continue in the fall of 2017 with most work occurring in 2018.

“The Green Line Small Business Initiative is proof of CTA’s continued investment in the people and communities we serve,” Carter said. “By teaching contractors the skills they need to work with a large agency such as CTA, we help empower them to compete on a broader playing field.”

This initiative continues CTA’s unique model for business education and outreach, which began during the Red Line South reconstruction project in 2013. During the five-month long reconstruction, which completely rebuilt the 10.2-mile stretch just north of Cermak-Chinatown to 95th St., CTA exceeded its DBE participation goals by working with 39 minority-owned companies. Additionally, rebuilding the 44-year-old track offered DBEs the opportunity to earn $89 million for their work on this historic project. Since Emanuel took office, the CTA has undertaken 46 station modernizations or comprehensive rehabilitations, the city says in its news release.

Earlier in the month, Emanuel and Chicago Department of Planning and Development (CPD) commissioner David Reifman announced many of the city’s largest construction projects will now be required to report on their efforts to solicit and hire minority- and women-owned business (MBE/WBE).

The action was taken through an executive order signed by Emanuel, which requires developers seeking Planned Development (PD) zoning approvals by the Chicago Plan Commission to submit signed affidavits about their efforts to promote and incorporate participation by certified MBE/WBE firms and plans for local hiring.