Businesses to receive equal opportunity with Rauner’s executive order

Rishika Dugyala, Assistant Summer Editor

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Gov. Bruce Rauner signed an executive order last Wednesday to ensure all Illinois businesses looking to contract with the state will receive equal opportunity.

According to the governor’s news release, the executive order directs the Illinois Department of Central Management Services to ensure the state does more business with companies owned and controlled by minorities, women and individuals with disabilities.

“We need to lift up minorities, women, and persons with disabilities who have been overlooked within our society and are underrepresented in our economy,” Rauner said in the news release. “Illinois is one of the most diverse states in the country, yet a 2015 study found that disparities exist between the number of minority-owned and women-owned businesses and their utilization on contracts and subcontracts through the State.”

The executive order also directs the department to implement a sheltered market initiative to reduce disparities.

According to the news release, sheltered markets are created when certain state solicitations are set aside for specific businesses. The initiative will target areas where discriminatory practices have prevented progress toward equal contracting, and it will also help the state achieve its goal of awarding 20 percent of contracts to minority businesses.

“This Executive Order, especially the thoughtful consideration of use of Sheltered Markets, is perhaps the most important step the State of Illinois has taken toward bringing equity to Black and minority-owned businesses in the state,” said Larry Ivory, president and CEO of the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce, in the news release.

Twitter: @rdugyala822