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DDC Launches New Mentoring Program For Qualified M/WBE Construction Firms and Small Businesses

First program of its type for any City agency provides training and puts emerging firms in the field with established contractors and construction management firms

(New York, NY – November 10, 2021) Commissioner Jamie Torres-Springer of the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and other administration officials today joined construction industry and local elected leaders to launch a new DDC Mentoring Program designed to increase business opportunities for qualified Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) and small businesses. The program, modeled after successful programs at the NYC School Construction Authority (SCA) and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), is the first of its type for a New York City agency.

Inside the Surrogate courthouse

An M/WBE contractor working for the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) restored the interior and exterior of the atrium laylight ceiling at the Surrogate’s Courthouse at 31 Chambers Street in downtown Manhattan, the site of today’s announcement. The project received a Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award as well as Honorable Mention for “2019 Project of the Year” from the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) Metro New York/New Jersey chapter.

“DDC’s Mentoring Program is designed to prepare qualified M/WBEs and small businesses to successfully compete for and complete City construction contracts,” said DDC Commissioner Jamie Torres-Springer. “Participants will receive customized business growth planning and industry training and will gain real-life experience under the guidance of DDC professionals and established firms with years of experience in the field. This program has the potential to truly give emerging firms a stepping stone to long-term success.”

“This mentoring program is an important milestone for DDC and a reinforcement of the solid partnership that exists between DDC and the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) community,” said Magalie D. Austin, Senior Advisor and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises. “It is a testament and recognition of the importance of M/WBE s in the construction industry as important partners for the City of New York. The Mentoring program will support and grow the capacity of firms that will allow them to fully participate in the City’s recovery as they compete for larger projects, and create jobs that will help grow and strengthen our communities.”

“It’s crucial that we provide small firms and M/WBEs with opportunities, tools, and guidance so they can compete for City construction contracts, both to level the playing field and to ensure City contracts are more accessible,” said the Administration’s Senior Advisor for Recovery and former DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo. “This opportunity to learn from seasoned professionals both at DDC and in the construction industry will be invaluable for emerging businesses and I encourage them to take advantage of this opportunity if they qualify.”

DDC is the City’s principal construction management agency, building infrastructure and public buildings for more than 20 City agencies plus non-profit organizations that receive funding from the City. DDC is also responsible for much of the City’s contracting opportunities for M/WBE firms.

In Fiscal Year 2021, DDC’s M/WBE usage rate was 25.6%, as it entering into 334 total contracts with M/WBEs value at $660 million. In Fiscal Year 2020, 440 M/WBE firms won contracts with DDC worth $335 million, a usage rate of nearly 32%. The City’s overall M/WBE usage rate for the year was 29%, which was a record for the City.

The new Mentoring Program will help businesses grow with the goal of increasing their financial capacity and preparing them to compete for open market contracts. Businesses accepted into the program will receive:

  • Detailed assistance from construction industry experts
  • Tailored business management and growth planning support
  • Project-specific assistance
  • Access to a network of construction businesses and exclusive networking events
  • Trainings and resources to improve their ability to successfully work with City agencies
  • Exclusive opportunities to bid on specially designated construction projects valued at up to $1.5 million
  • Eligibility to enroll in the Graduate Mentoring Program and compete for projects valued at up to $3 million

Through DDC’s partnership with the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS), participants in the Mentoring Program will also have access to SBS staff, to capital opportunities via SBS’s capital growth programs and to SBS’s workforce development programs to support businesses’ administrative capacity.

To be eligible for the new program, firms must be in the construction industry, have been in business for at least one year and must be certified by the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) as an M/WBE or “small business” (an independently owned and operated non-M/WBE with average annual gross earnings between $150,000 and $500,000 during the last three calendar years).

Firms also have to meet minimum requirements for annual gross earnings and have appropriate references. Businesses in the areas of general contracting, concrete, electrical, HVAC, mechanical and plumbing services are all encouraged to apply.

Businesses interested in DDC’s Mentoring Program should register as a “Bidder/Proposer/Mentor” at, click on the Mentoring Access Portal (MAP) icon and complete the Eligibility Screening Questionnaire to determine if they meet the preliminary qualifica-tions. Upon completion and preliminary qualification approval, businesses will receive access to the Mentoring Program application.

To learn more about how eligible firms can become certified as an M/WBE, please visit Certify With the City. Firms applying for the program must also sign up and file disclosures in PASSPort, the City's digital Procurement and Sourcing Solutions Portal.

Firms with further questions about the new DDC Mentoring Program should email DDC at:

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15.5 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit