SCCPSS Working To Help Women, Minority Businesses Get Constructi - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

SCCPSS Working To Help Women, Minority Businesses Get Construction Contracts

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CHATHAM COUNTY, GA - The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System’s effort to get more local minority and women construction companies involved in projects is starting to work. During the school board meeting some small business owners said they were getting more opportunities but there are still hurdles in the way.

The owner of Clifton Construction says as a small business it can be difficult to meet the standards needed to work with big contractors. Gina Clifton Mincy has been in business for 19 years and says the last six years have been rough. Mincy said the school district's local Minority Women Business Enterprise policy, otherwise known as MWBE, is a life line for companies like hers because she is starting to get school projects.

Mincy is currently working on Coastal Middle School. The small business owner said having good finances can be important in getting a job with a contractor.

"The school board requires the general contractors to be bonded and in turn the general contractors are requiring minority and women owned businesses to be bonded too. Now to be bonded your financials have to be strong, if not you can be denied, therefore we won't be allowed to participate in some of the jobs that are here so that's a big problem and we are struggling to get some things changed there,” said Mincy.

To make sure the general contractors stick with their commitment of including local MWBE participation the school district just hired a compliance officer. Vanessa Kaigler, the school district’s Director of Facility Management, said the compliance officer will make sure the contractor is following through with including MWBE.

“It’s not a requirement it's a good faith effort and we encourage our contractors to do what's right to be inclusive. If you are a large firm whatever those subcontracting opportunities are to make sure that you are inclusive at maximizing utilization of those local firms,” said Kaigler.

The school district spokesman said local MWBE participation in ESPLOST II projects is around 25 percent.

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