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Saturday, September 12, 2009


Participants from last year’s program awarded nearly $5 million in contracts

Providing job training for New Yorkers and helping place them in jobs is a central part of the Bloomberg Administration’s Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan

New York, September 12, 2009 - Columbia University Facilities and the University’s School of Continuing Education, in partnership with New York City’s Department of Small Business Services (SBS), welcomed 22 new minority, women-, and locally-owned (MWL) businesses to its Construction Certificate/Mentorship Program during a kick-off orientation and networking reception held last week at Columbia University. The firms comprise the second cohort of the two-year certificate program, designed to help MWL-certified businesses in the construction field build capacity and access exclusive opportunities for designated contracts with the University.

“The Construction Certificate/Mentorship Program supports Columbia’s strong record of providing opportunities for minority-owned, women-owned and local firms,” said Joe Ienuso, Executive Vice President of Columbia University Facilities. “Through the program’s combination of classroom training, which is now being done by Columbia’s own School of Continuing Education, and one-on-one assistance, our goal is to enhance the ability of these small and medium-sized firms as they compete for business here at Columbia and across the City.”

The program’s curriculum follows a full project life cycle from cost estimating to project closeouts. Individuals receive assistance on understanding solicitations, pricing functions, and completing bids in Columbia’s contract response format. After successful completion of the academic program, businesses will receive a Columbia University certificate. In addition, participants receive opportunities to bid on specific Columbia projects and are trained on how to successfully manage these projects, including payment requisition, planning, and scheduling projects in a timely manner.

“The applicants to this year’s class amply illustrate the talent and diversity that we were seeking when we designed the program,” said Dennis Green, Director of the Construction Administration graduate program in Columbia’s School of Continuing Education.

Since its launch in January 2008, 18 MWL firms remain active in the mentorship program. These firms have had opportunities to bid on Columbia University construction projects. Ten of the firms have bid successfully and have received $5 million in contract awards for University projects.

“Our partnership with Columbia University is opening the doors for our certified minority and women-owned businesses to grow,” said Andrew Schwartz, the First Deputy Commissioner of the City’s Department of Small Business Services, who attended the event. “This program means more opportunities for certified minority and women-owned businesses to bid on contracts, expand their business, and effectively contribute to the City's economy.”

The Department of Small Business Services’ Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) Program helps certified businesses access city contracting opportunities and build capacity. For more information, visit

Over the last six years, Columbia has been able to meet or exceed its goal on MWL vendor participation. From 2002 to 2005, Columbia spent more than $112 million in major construction contracts with MWL firms, representing about 36 percent of its total spend for these services. From 2006 to 2008, Columbia spent about $179 million in construction and repair and maintenance services with MWL firms, representing approximately 30 percent of its total spend for these services. For more information about Columbia University, visit

To learn more and obtain an application, visit the Columbia University Facilities web site at, call 212-854-3649 or e-mail

About the Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan
The Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan is a comprehensive strategy to bring New York City through the current economic downturn as fast as possible. It focuses on three major areas: creating jobs for New Yorkers today, implementing a long-term vision for growing the city's economy, and building affordable, attractive neighborhoods in every borough. Taken together, the initiatives that the City has launched to achieve these goals will generate thousands of jobs and put New York City on a path to economic recovery and growth.

About The Department of Small Business Services
The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) makes it easier for businesses in New York City to form, do business, and grow by providing direct assistance to business owners, fostering neighborhood development in commercial districts, and linking employers to a skilled and qualified workforce. NYC Workforce1 Career Centers offer services to meet the needs of all jobseekers, including one-on-one job and career counseling, technical and educational services, workshops, and referrals to training providers. For more information on all of SBS’ services go to

About Columbia University
A leading academic and research university, Columbia University continually seeks to advance the frontiers of knowledge and to foster a campus community deeply engaged in understanding and addressing the complex global issues of our time. Columbia’s extensive public service initiatives, cultural collaborations, and community partnerships help define the university’s underlying values and mission to educate students to be both leading scholars and informed, engaged citizens. Founded in 1754 as King’s College, Columbia University in the City of New York is the fifth oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.

  Media contacts:
Laura Postiglione (SBS) 212-5136318,
Victoria BenĂ­tez, 212-854-6732,
Dan Held, 212-854-8374,

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