News / Article


Source: - Feb 5, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA—Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced the launch of Contractor's College of New Orleans, an innovative training and capacity building program designed to help small, disadvantaged, minority, and women-owned construction firms (DBE firms) compete in the highly competitive construction industry, which is benefiting from billions of dollars worth of public and private facilities being rebuilt, from schools to hospitals to roads to parks and playgrounds.

“Contractor’s College is another great example of how we can build capacity among local businesses by removing obstacles that have prevented their inclusion in local opportunities in the past,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “I am confident that this program will put DBE firms on equal footing with other companies as our City continues to recover and rebuild.”

Contractor’s College will teach contractors how to improve their businesses in areas such as banking, insurance and bonding. Contractor’s College will utilize business development best-practices that include a combination of education, management, technical assistance and access to capital to ensure participants are provided with the guidance, tools and resources they need to bid on, win and manage public and private sector construction projects.

The program will be managed through the City's Office of Supplier Diversity, which was created to improve contracting opportunities for socially and economically disadvantaged and traditionally underserved small businesses. New Orleans was awarded a $1.042 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to fund the program.

Prior to the Landrieu administration, the City did not track DBE participation or performance. Since establishing the Office of Supplier Diversity, the Landrieu administration has doubled DBE participation in City contracts from 16% to over 32% in less than one year, helped DBE firms secure over $21 million in contracts, and tripled the number of firms receiving DBE certification each month. The Office of Supplier Diversity also has a newsletter which reaches over 2,100 small businesses in the area to keep them abreast of contracting and networking opportunities in the city.

DBE expansion is also happening outside of the walls of City Hall. The City and the Louis Armstrong International Airport are working together to conduct a disparity study to evaluate whether DBEs are getting less government work than other similar businesses. The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) recently launched a Small Business Enterprise (SBE) certification program in accordance with new federal guidelines to allow more small businesses to compete on projects. The City is also working with Harrah’s Casino to conduct several DBE outreach sessions this year.

Certified DBE firms, licensed and unlicensed contractors and entrepreneurs interested in starting construction businesses are eligible to participate in Contractor’s College. Those interested in participating or seeking more information about the program are invited to attend one of two information and registration sessions on Wednesday, February 1, 2012, or Wednesday, February 8, 2012, from 5:00—6:30 p.m. in the City's JOB1 Office located at 3400 Tulane Avenue.

For more information about Contractor’s College or to RSVP for the February 1st or February 8th information sessions, please email or call (504) 658-4235. To sign up for the Office of Supplier Diversity’s newsletter, please email

Category: General Business