Federal, State Partners To Prepare DBE Firms for Highway Construction Contracts

Up to now, there has been a disconnection between Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms having the skills to perform contract jobs, and their ability to obtain contracts for highway construction projects. Now help is on the way to make the connection thanks to funds provided by the Federal Highway Administration to the Maryland Department of Transportation's Business Development Accelerator Program (BDAP).

The funds are administered through the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA).  The BDAP program is focused on helping firms remove the stumbling blocks to successful bids through a combination of specific training, techniques and tools to run a successful business.

The College of Southern Maryland will implement the program in partnership with Maryland community colleges, Maryland Small Business Development Centers across Maryland and SHA. The program will be administered by CSM and SBDC through classroom and virtual training sessions, mentoring, access to subject matter experts and building critical relationships. 

“In their development, many DBE firms focus almost exclusively on how to do the job, while not paying attention to what they need to compete for those jobs,” said SHA Administrator Greg C. Johnson. “Whether it's bonding requirements, marketing or accounting 101, these business management skills can mean the difference between success and failure. BDAP will address those issues to each individual business.”

“CSM, along with its partners, will support SHA's goal of promoting economic and business development in Maryland by working with DBE firms that have had limited success in obtaining work on highway construction projects,” said CSM's Vice President of Continuing Education and Workforce Development Dr. Daniel Mosser.

The program's goal is to assist 25 to 40 underutilized businesses that are currently certified in Maryland and involved in the construction and related services field. A part of the program includes providing information on business prospects, available resources and how to position the business to obtain awards on federal, state and local government contracts and opportunities.

At no cost to the DBE, BDAP provides personalized consultation, customized training and technical assistance based on the needs of the owners of construction-focused businesses. These companies will have access to proven financial management strategies and loan packaging assistance; support with developing their marketing plans, capabilities statements, pricing and promotional strategies; and resources and information to aid in acquiring the technical skills needed to understand and navigate the sometimes cumbersome procurement and contracting processes, requirements, rules, regulations and laws.

“The partnership between CSM, the state's community colleges, the Maryland Small Business Development Center and SHA builds upon the federal and state investments made in Maryland and leverages the existing capacity of those resources best positioned to provide a comprehensive statewide service delivery,” said SBDC?s Southern Region Director Ellen Flowers-Field.

To learn more about the SHA's BDAP and how to get enrolled, firms should contact Outreach Coordinator Ann Frank, 301-539-4688.