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Small Business Advocacy Center (SBAC)

The SBAC is an initiative spearheaded by Southwest Detroit Business Association (SDBA), with key partners Sphinx Consulting, LLC ; Leading Edge Business Solutions, LLC ; and Congress of Communities. Started in 2015, The SBAC helps increase economic opportunities and racial equity in the public contracting process by preparing local contractors and residents to obtain jobs and economic benefits from major infrastructure projects in Detroit.

Accomplishments

Among 263 residents engaged in the direct job placement track in 2017:

▪ 139 secured a job, earning an average hourly rate of $13.03

▪ Of these 139 people, 121 were still employed after 6 months Among 121 companies engaged in 2017 :

▪ 4 became DBE (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise) certified

▪ 1 became MDOT (Michigan Department of Transportation) Prequalified

▪ 16 graduated from the USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) Bonding and Education Program (BEP)

Program Model

The SBAC has developed an entirely new model that has never been done before. This model has three components, which are helping to achieve the initiative’s intended outcomes to increase eligibility and participation of Detroit-based residents and DBEs in local construction projects as well as influence system-level changes for racial equity in the industry’s policies and practices.

1. System Level
VISIBILITY
– Work directly with USDOT, MDOT, and the Partnership for Diversity and Opportunity in Transportation (PDOT)
– Attend industry-related conferences and events

RACIAL EQUITY
Raise awareness of systemic racism and reduce discriminatory practices in the industry

NETWORK
Build relationships with leading prime contractors in the industry via PDOT and industry events

PARTNER
Replicate new industry-led and industry-driven model with interested primes

2. Residents
RECRUITMENT
Word of mouth

OUTREACH
Host workforce development intake sessions

ASSESSMENT
– If barriers: refer to external resources and partners
– If eligible: enroll and assign to a track

TRAINING & JOBS
Track 1: Job placement
Track 2: Pre-apprenticeship
Track 3: Apprenticeship
Track 4: Entrepreneurship & Business Development

3. Contractors
OUTREACH
Follow up with BEP graduates and engage new contractors

ASSESSMENT
Determine barriers to bid on infrastructure projects

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT & CAPACITY BUILDING
Provide technical assistance, training workshops, and resources for professional needs such as liability insurance, bonding, business planning, proposals and bidding, MDOT prequalification, and DBE certification

BIDDING ON INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS
Track MDOT lettings (industry jobs to bid on) to match with subcontractors and assist them in submitting a competitive proposal to prime contractors

ENSURE INCLUSION OF DBEs
– Provide a pool of qualified and capable DBE contractors to connect to stakeholders
– Follow MDOT process to investigate and ensure prime contractors are actively engaging DBE subcontractors in their proposals

Please contact: Robert Dewaelsche robertd@southwestdetroit.com