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CTA Enhances Diversity, Economy with Inclusion Initiative

CTA Enhances Diversity, Economy with Inclusion Initiative

Diversity Economy Initiative

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has taken great strides in their inclusion initiative, successfully incorporating 119 minority- or female-owned businesses, otherwise known as “Disadvantaged Business Enterprises” (DBEs) into the Red and Purple Modernization project. Resulting in a more diverse, inclusive industry, and a strengthened local economy.

The founder of a workplace safety training business, Adrian Mobley, shifted her focus to the construction industry, experiencing significant growth in her company after securing a subcontractor opportunity with the project partners, CTA and Walsh-Fluor, resulting in a whopping $4.5 million contract.

Her contract responsibilities involved managing traffic and safety measures at numerous CTA project construction sites which required expert coordination, vigilant problem-solving, and uncompromising adherence to safety regulations. With strategic planning and operational efficiency, Adrian’s company has greatly improved the construction industry safety measures and efficiency.

The CTA project aims to overhaul approximately 10 miles of North Side tracks and stations using a mixture of federal and local funds, future plans even include an extension of the Red Line to 130th Street. This project strives to enhance and modernize the North Side’s infrastructures and public transit.

According to CTA, nearly 53% of the project’s workforce are from minority groups, proving the effectiveness of the Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) program, which seeks to level the playing field for small, profit-making businesses primarily owned and managed by the socially and economically disadvantaged.

Mobley, who employs workers mostly from areas of lower socio-economic status, highlights the importance of consistent employment and associated benefits such as health insurance and pensions. The CTA contract provided her with the opportunity to branch out into more ventures, furthering the growth of her safety training business.

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In the face of a national labor shortage, Mobley faced no significant recruitment challenges and diversified her staff, even involving her two adult daughters in the enterprise.

As Illinois hosts over 2,000 certified DBEs, the CTA, funded by federal funds, ensured fairness and anti-discriminatory practices by allocating a fair share of contracts to these minority groups, fostering diversity and inclusion in its operations.

Through the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program, the CTA has achieved expanding opportunities within procurement processes, facilitating a more equitable competitive landscape for all businesses. This commitment has helped build a vibrant and resilient local economy in Illinois, bolstering social equality in the infrastructure sector.

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