Metra’s Office of Diversity and Civil Rights will host a free certification workshop for small, minority- and women-owned businesses from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 12 at Metra headquarters, located at 547 W. Jackson Blvd. in Chicago.
 
Designed for small business owners, construction firms, professional service firms and suppliers, the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Certification 101 Workshop will explain how a minority- or women-owned business can become a certified DBE firm. While there are similarities, the DBE certification is separate and distinct from WBE, SBE, or MBE certifications.

The DBE workshop will also provide an in-depth explanation of how to complete the certification application, including what documents are needed and how to avoid common mistakes. All questions regarding the process are welcomed during this workshop.
 
“Obtaining a DBE certification is rewarding for small businesses, and we want to help those interested work their way through a process that can be daunting at times,” said Metra Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno. “This workshop is one starting point for firms who want access to the numerous contracts Metra has to offer.”
 
The workshop also will give insight into the advantages of DBE certification and how it can be used as a resource when doing business with Metra and the four other Illinois Unified Certification (IL UCP) members: the Chicago Transit Authority, Pace, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the City of Chicago.
 
Metra’s DBE program was established in 1984. Since that time, the program has made numerous strides in creating a level playing field for small, minority- and women-owned businesses. Over the past 30 years, Metra’s DBE program has sponsored and participated in hundreds of workshops, training sessions and exhibitor fairs that provide access and opportunities throughout Illinois.
 
From 2014 to 2016, Metra committed $82 million in contracts to DBE firms, with 31% going to women-owned firms, 28% going to African American-owned firms, 22% going to Hispanic-owned firms and 19% going to Asian or Asian-Pacific American-owned firms. During that time, the value of contracts awarded to DBE firms increased by 31%.
 
To register for the event and for more information, contact DBE Community Liaison Romayne Newton at rnewton@metrarr.com or 312-322-6587.

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