Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Secretary Pete K. Rahn recently hosted a kickoff workshop for Opportunity MDOT, a first-of-its-kind program to maximize economic empowerment of small and disadvantaged businesses (DBE) throughout the state.
The workshop, held at the University of Maryland, College Park, was designed to help prepare and train small and minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses for opportunities related to the I-495 & I-270 Public-Private Partnership (P3) Program, in the event a build alternative is selected.
"The P3 program will not only deliver transformational traffic relief in Maryland, it also will connect disadvantaged Marylanders to life-changing career opportunities," said Rahn.
Small and disadvantaged businesses were invited to learn more about how they could get involved with the I-495 & I-270 P3 Program through Opportunity MDOT. The event was attended by several hundred business representatives and companies.
- Attendees learned about the I-495 & I-270 P3 program and heard about potential opportunities in the P3 solicitation process. A call-to-action urged businesses to become engaged immediately, and described steps for training, networking and acquiring DBE certification.Opportunity MDOT involves a number of initiatives aimed at small business inclusion, such as:an advisory council with a mission to spearhead and promote economic-empowerment throughout the life of the I-495 & I-270 P3 Program;
- creation of the Center of Excellence, a virtual hub of information, resources and support services for small, disadvantaged and minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses, as well as jobseekers and prime contractors interested in engaging with the I-495 & I-270 P3 Program;
- a partnership with the Maryland Department of Labor's Workforce Development Division to create and manage a local preferred training-partner network; and
- coordination with the Conference on Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) to raise awareness among community and faith-based organizations, high schools, colleges and universities, libraries and local and state agencies.
As the proposed I-495 & I-270 P3 Program strives to provide travelers with congestion relief, Opportunity MDOT is designed to ensure Maryland's small businesses, workforce and economy benefit from the program's overall investment, estimated to be $9 billion to $11 billion. Every $1 billion in highway construction supports 13,000 jobs for one year, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
In the months ahead, Opportunity MDOT will provide additional information and tools for job seekers and prime contractors looking for opportunities within the P3 Program.