State and contractors working to be more diverse and inclusive

Jonathan McGee, director of the Office of Business and Workforce Development for the Illinois Department of Transportation, is part of an IDOT conference in Springfield to get the state and its vendors to be more inclusive. (Photo courtesy: WJBC/File)

By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – Both the state and its contractors are working to be more diverse and inclusive. 

“Whether you’re black-owned, women-owned, Latinx-owned business, (Asian-American Pacific Islander)-owned business,” said Jonathan McGee, “you still are dealing with systemic challenges: one, can I get a loan? Two: Will I be viewed as just as viable as my counterparts? Three: What are some of the issues I am struggling with of capacity and bandwidth; running my shop.”

And women- and minority-owned contractors are out there, beyond the construction field. “Before we do a project, we’ve got to engineer it and design it. About ten percent of all our projects fall into the design and engineering space,” said McGee. “We actually do very well there.”

McGee, recently hired as the director of the Office of Business and Workforce Development in the Illinois Department of Transportation, is one of the main speakers at an IDOT conference on diversity and inclusion.

Dave Dahl can be reached at Blake.Haas@Cumulus.com.

Blogs

Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…