Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Civil Rights

Committed to equality in transportation service

Business and program development


The purpose of the Business and Program Development Team is to develop programs, initiatives and tools that support the activities of the Contract Compliance and Small Business Contracting Units in order to advance program objectives that will achieve the Office of Civil Rights mission. The programs and initiatives are organized into two comprehensive program plans:

Small Business Development Program

MnDOT’s Small Business Development program provides training and technical assistance, along with access to business and financial resources that help small businesses compete more effectively on MnDOT projects/contracts. It is a comprehensive approach, organized into six impact areas:

Growing the DBE Pool

Includes activities and initiatives focused on the need to grow the pool of certified Highway Heavy capable Disadvantaged Business Enterprise firms in Minnesota.

Building DBE firm capacity

These efforts assist the department with identifying firms that have the capability and desire to build new areas of expertise, and/or expand their existing overall capacity. This is done by assessing individual firms, identifying the resources needed to reach their articulated goal and developing an individual plan to get there. MnDOT contracts with a third party(s) to conduct in-depth, one-on-one business assessments and to develop individual business development plans for certified DBE firms. If you would like more information on this project or would like to be a participant, contact us.

Building DBE firm technical expertise

Classroom and individual technical training components that increase participant’s technical knowledge. These training classes include topics like:

  • Bidding and estimating
  • Legal aspects of contracting
  • Job-costing
  • Critical path scheduling
  • Accounting
  • One-on-one technical coaching and development
  • Classroom training on topics specific to MnDOT (pre-qualification, contract specifications, prevailing wage, how to submit a claim, how to get your product on the state’s Approved Product List, how to locate resources, how to do business with MnDOT and identify contracting opportunities)

MnDOT has contracted with three third party vendors to provide these services. For more information about these services, a schedule of business skills training courses, and/or find out how to gain access to these services visit our training, news and information center.

Building DBE firm financial literacy

Assisting DBE firms to establish capital resources, access to bonding/insurance and the continued administration and operation of the Working Capital Loan Fund (WCLF) program.


MnDOT operates a Mentor-Protégé Program in cooperation with the Minnesota Unified Certification program partners: Metropolitan Council and the City of Minneapolis. A mentor-protégé relationship may be recommended to firms as part of their business development plan and/or DBE firms participating in the DBE Academy if it is determined through an in-depth business assessment that a firms’ developmental goals would greatly benefit from the relationship. If you are interested in becoming either a mentor or a protégé, please contact us.

The DBE Academy

The DBE Academy concept is a linear growth and development program. The goal is to identify DBE firms that have the potential to make that transitional step to the next phase of their overall growth and development - growing current capacity in a new scope of work and/or start bidding and winning contracts as a prime. The end result is a pool of firms that will provide confidence to general contractors and mitigate some of the risk of doing business with small firms.

On-the-Job Training Supportive Services Program

The purpose of MnDOT’s OJT/SS program is to develop projects and initiatives that will enhance the state’s administration of the federal OJT program and to increase the pool of qualified minorities, women and disadvantaged individuals in the highway heavy construction trades. The operation of the OJT/SS Program is funded primarily with federal dollars. These funds can be used for:

  • Recruitment
  • Skills training
  • Job placement
  • Child care
  • Outreach
  • Transportation to work sites
  • Post-graduation follow-up
  • Job site mentoring
  • Pre-employment assessment
  • Mediation
  • Pre-and post-employment counseling

MnDOT has constructed a budget to develop projects that support the purpose of the program based upon the following four categories:

1. Construction Trades Highway Heavy Training

Specific trades training designed to meet the requirements and expectations of contractors that are awarded road construction projects by MnDOT. The training is comprised of two components: job skills success, and hands-on technical training. Participants are also provided support to assist with obtaining employment and a career in the construction trades. Highway heavy trades include, but are not limited to the following trades:

  • Equipment operator
  • Laborer
  • Carpenter
  • Truck driver
  • Iron worker
  • Cement mason

View current RFP or active contracts for construction trades highway heavy training.

2. Tribal Construction Trades Highway Heavy Training

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Students participating in the 2016 NSTI.

Highway heavy trades training specifically targeted towards federally recognized tribes and tribal colleges/universities in Minnesota. It is important that MnDOT identify an additional trades training resource for tribal entities in our state, relevant in regard to the agencies relationship with sovereign governments, and recognition of Native Americans as the primary group in greater Minnesota that remains underserved in MnDOT’s programs and activities. View current RFP or active contracts for tribal construction trades highway heavy training.

3. National Summer Training Institute (NSTI)

An education initiative established by the United States Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration to create awareness and stimulate interest in middle and high school participants, take maximum advantage of the career opportunities that exist in the transportation industry, attract a broad and diverse selection of bright minds, as well as acquaint and stimulate them with the various aspects of the transportation industry, and increase the number of participants who choose a career in the transportation industry. It is the intent of FHWA that state DOTs solicit the participation of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and other minority institutions of higher education. MnDOT administers the NSTI on behalf of FHWA in Minnesota. View current RFP or active contracts for NSTI.

4. Workforce Outreach

Outreach and training initiatives targeted to high school youth and members of emerging communities in Minnesota. View current RFP or active contracts for workforce outreach.