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Report: Not enough qualified MWBEs for large NYC contracts
Published on 06/12/2017

The Building Trades Employers' Association (BTEA), a New York City-based organization representing large contractors, has recently published the results of a study it commissioned examining the capacity of minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) to work with the firms represented by BTEA.

The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio has been pushing for a greater share of city contracting dollars to be awarded to MWBEs, setting a goal for such spending to reach 30 percent of total contracting dollars (not including certain categories such as affordable housing construction and others) by 2021.

However, the BTEA reports that MWBE capacity in New York City is inadequate to reaching the mayor's goal. For example, only 32 MWBEs that are certified to do heavy construction on streets, bridges, and sewers also have the capacity to complete contracts that are larger than $6 million. Such contracts made up 86% of the $2.9 billion the city spent on that category of work between 2012 and 2015.

In light of these findings, the BTEA argues that the existing programs intended to expand MWBE capacity are not optimal and are in need of reworking. The BTEA has also released a separate paper arguing that MWBEs seeking to grow would be better served by greater access to financing and bonding and lower insurance costs, among other solutions, rather than the existing MWBE programs.

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