CHAMPAIGN — City administrators this week will ask the city council whether they should move forward with a program they hope will bolster the efforts they have already made in the past several years to encourage participation in city projects from women- and minority-owned businesses.
They will unveil details of their plan during a city council study session on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.
City officials say they have already been "very proactive" in those efforts during the past five years, according to city documents. They have hosted meetings with minority contractors, encouraged their certification in a state minority contracting program and unbundled larger projects to open up participation from smaller businesses that do not have all the resources that larger, established contractors might have.
For one of the city's largest projects in recent years — the construction of a massive, $31 million fiber-optic network throughout Champaign, Urbana and Savoy — the city council approved an alternative purchasing process developed to encourage participation among women- and minority-owned businesses.
Those efforts were generally regarded by city officials as a success, and they hope to incorporate many of those initiatives in future projects, according to city documents.
Many of the efforts are outreach initiatives, including more education and training for potential contractors, simplifying the bidding process and even developing "how to do business with the city" training.
City council members are scheduled to evaluate those plans during their discussion on Tuesday night.