Latino contractors can benefit from Propositions S and N
Historically, it has been very difficult for Latino-owned small construction firms to bid and ultimately get contracts for major construction projects in San Diego County.
But a group of organizations and companies are trying to help minority-owned firms to learn about opportunities within the San Diego Community College District’s $1.555 billion Propositions S and N construction bond program.
Organizations such as the San Diego Community College District, Gafcon, Inc., San Diego Contracting Opportunities Center, Small Business Development Center, will be having a networking and outreach event on Friday, August 6, from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at San Diego Mesa College. The college is located at 7250 Mesa College Dr., in San Diego.
The event is free, but registration is required.
At the event, Latinos and other minority contractors will be able to network with other contractors and builders heading up the CM Multiple Prime projects, and learn about upcoming bid opportunities.
They will also meet with the district’s major mechanical, electrical and plumbing teams and find out about upcoming projects.
Information will also be provided on workshops and services available through the San Diego Contracting Opportunities Center and the Small Business Development Center to help small business improve the ability to do business with government agencies.
For all parties involved in the bond program, is important to encourage Latino, women and minority-owned firms to bid for projects, thus creating a more diversity in the construction world, said Ursula Kroemer, Director of Communications for Propositions S and N for the San Diego Community College District. Kroemer also serves as Outreach Coordinator, a position where she researches local minority-owned firms through a contractor database, contacts them, and encourages them to get involved.
“We want to make sure we continue to seek out skilled Latino contractors and folks performing specialty trades, and this is where your story can really do a public service,” Kroemer said.
Kroemer provided some basic background for you on the Propositions S and N construction bond program:
“This is a $1.555 billion construction bond program (combining Proposition S, a $685 million bond passed in 2002, and Proposition N, a $870 million bond passed in 2006) and which is providing for brand new instructional and career training facilities, major renovations, campus wide infrastructure projects, parking, and public safety and ADA enhancements at City, Mesa and Miramar Colleges, and six Continuing Education facilities.”
Kroemer added that “that the end of 2009, we calculated the program had generated about 5,500 jobs – and based on the volume of work for 2010, we projected the addition of 1,200 more. Of these, Latinos make up about 40% of our folks on the job sites. These are prevailing wage jobs which enable folks to raise families and also provide an investment in our local workforce.”
So, how can Latino contractors “get in the system” and start biding for these projects?
Kroemer said the college district is very committed to outreaching to small firms.
“First, we do ask that any Latino firm which is interested and able to perform work in excess of $500,000 do a pre-qualification with the District,” she said. “Once pre-qualified, we ask that they re-qualify annually.
“We also encourage local MBEs to register with the San Diego Contracting Opportunities Center (SDCOC), also known as the Procurement Training Assistance Center (PTAC), which helps maintain a database of subcontractors for us.
The advantage of registering with SDCOC is that several other public agencies access their database to find, say, plumbing or drywall contractors, painters, etc. With the name in the system, folks are more ‘findable.’
“We are also directing all of our campus project managers to direct-source with MBEs, DBEs, S/DVBEs, WBEs and SBEs any project that does not require approval by the Board of Trustees…and that is those projects with a value of up to $15,000. This is great news for small firms who are just need to kind of get their foot in the door, perform successfully, and start building a track record. I have them use the SDCOC as one means for identifying these small firms.”
More than anything, to start getting their feet in the door, Kroemer encourages Latino contractors to get involved, and attend events such as the August 6 networking event.
“Bring your business cards and resumes and join us,” she said.
To register for the free event, please visit www.ptac-sandiego.org/workshop.html.