Inspector General Joe Ferguson maps out challenges of MWBE program

April 12, 2011

Produced by Eight Forty-Eight

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(Flickr/vxla)
The MWBE program aims to give minority and women-owned businesses a chance at city construction projects.

On Monday Crain’s Chicago Business reported that Wal-Mart fell short in its promise to be a good neighbor to parts of Chicago’s minority communities. The company hired a black woman contractor to build its first Chicago store in Austin on the city’s West Side. But much of the work went to non-minority owned contractors.

While Wal-Mart is a corporate entity, the City of Chicago has a program to ensure minority businesses get some of the construction action. But some say the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Program, or MWBE, isn’t hitting its goals.

Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson issued a report in 2010 detailing the program’s shortcomings. In May he will issue an update to the report. He joined Eight Forty-Eight to explain what challenges exist for minority and women-owned businesses seeking contracts.