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Rokita Statement: Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute for H.R. 4366

Education & the Workforce Committee - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 12:00am

We talk a lot in this committee about helping people build better lives. Whether through more flexible work schedules, stronger job training programs, or smarter student loan terms, advancing commonsense policies that will make life work for more Americans is a top priority.

The Strengthening Education through Research Act is part of this effort. The committee has spent countless hours exploring the challenges and opportunities facing the nation’s K-12 education system. In classrooms nationwide, teachers and school leaders need quality research to identify the best ways to raise student achievement and encourage progress.

As the chairman explained in his opening remarks, H.R. 4366 will help ensure school leaders have access to more timely, relevant, and useful information on the most effective educational practices that will raise student achievement levels.

The amendment in the nature of a substitute makes a number of technical changes to strengthen the underlying legislation. First, the amendment clarifies the roles and responsibilities of the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences and the Evaluation and Regional Assistance Commissioner with respect to the operation of regional education laboratories. 

The amendment also defines an “eligible applicant” within each of the four research centers. The “eligible applicant” can then compete for funds to carry out each center’s research priorities. Both of these provisions will advance our central goal of streamlining and enhancing the Institute’s operations, while preventing duplication and overlap of research efforts.

Additionally, the amendment incorporates a proposal put forth by my colleague Representative Susan Brooks to encourage schools to support computer science and engineering instruction. The amendment will allow the Department of Education’s Comprehensive Centers to include these subjects when offering professional development and other technical assistance to states and school leaders on research-based teaching methods.

Finally, the amendment will clarify the responsibilities of the Institute and the secretary of education in evaluating the efficacy of programs operated under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and take steps to strengthen those evaluations.

The Supporting Education through Research Act will improve education research, protect taxpayers by enhancing program accountability, and help ensure more schools and students can benefit from effective education practices. I am pleased to offer this amendment in the nature of a substitute, and encourage my colleagues to support the underlying legislation.

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Messer Statement: Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute for H.R. 10

Education & the Workforce Committee - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 12:00am

I am pleased today to offer the amendment in the nature of a substitute for H.R. 10, the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act.

As Chair of the House School Choice Caucus, one of my top priorities is ensuring more families have access to high-quality education options. Supporting the growth of successful charter schools is an important part of this effort. 

I had the good fortune last month to join Chairman Kline on his trip to visit Minnesota charter schools, where I was impressed by the energy, excitement, and progress happening in the classroom. Charter schools like Minnesota’s Global Academy and Aspen Academy – along with the many exceptional charters in my home state of Indiana – are encouraging creativity, promoting parental engagement, and giving kids a shot at a better future. I’m especially proud that Ball State University in my congressional district sponsors 32 charter schools, which makes them the largest authorizer in the state.

The Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act will help more students and their families gain access to high-performing charter schools by supporting state efforts to start, expand, and replicate successful charter schools.  The amendment in the nature of a substitute will strengthen the underlying legislation by making a number of technical changes. However, there are three larger provisions included in the amendment that I’d like to highlight.

First, the amendment will address concerns about so-called “faux” charter schools, or schools that are reportedly trying to operate as charter schools but lack the autonomy necessary to be truly successful. The amendment requires schools receiving charter school funding meet the definition of a charter school, and be free from rules that inhibit flexible operation and management.

Second, the amendment clarifies that schools working to replicate a high-quality charter school model can do so under a new charter, if the state so requires. This provision is designed to ensure the legislation won’t interfere with current state requirements for charter schools to operate under new charters, even if a school is a replication of a high-quality charter school model.

The third and final change in the amendment that I’d like to mention is a provision that directs states to assist students and their families in identifying other school options in their area, should their current charter school close. No child should be trapped in a failing school, and this language will help ensure families have the resources they need when choosing a better school for their children.

For parents across the country, the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act could be the key to a brighter future for their children. I strongly encourage my colleagues to join me in supporting the amendment in the nature of a substitute and the underlying legislation.

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Committee Approves Bipartisan Legislation to Support Charter Schools and Enhance Education Research

Education & the Workforce Committee - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 12:00am

The House Education and the Workforce Committee today approved two pieces of legislation that will improve the nation’s K-12 education system. The Success and Opportunity through Quality Charters Act (H.R. 10) and the Strengthening Education through Research Act (H.R. 4366) both passed the committee with bipartisan support.

“I am pleased the committee approved with bipartisan support two pieces of legislation that will help raise the bar in our nation’s schools,” Chairman John Kline (R-MN) said. “By advancing proposals to encourage the growth of high-performing charter schools and help school leaders access more useful education research, we have taken an important step forward in the fight to improve K-12 education in America. These bipartisan proposals highlight the progress we can make when we work together in good faith, and I hope to build upon today’s success as I continue to advocate for a full reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. I thank my colleagues for their hard work on both proposals, and urge swift passage on the House floor.”

“These are two strong, bipartisan proposals to improve our nation’s education system,” said Rep. George Miller (D-CA), Senior Democrat on the Education and the Workforce Committee. “The Strengthening Education through Research Act strikes the proper balance between rigor and relevance, ensuring education research solves the real problems faced by students and those who work with them. And in reauthorizing the Charter School Program, H.R. 10 course corrects federal investments to ensure quality, accountability, and equity. But this is only part of the solution. More must be done to guarantee that all public charter schools are high-quality and equitably serve all students. Committee Democrats remain committed to reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to improve the quality and oversight of all schools—charter and noncharter—that receive Title I funds.”

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), chairman of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, said, “Helping people build better lives is a top priority for this committee. Whether through more flexible work schedules, stronger job training programs, or smarter student loan terms, advancing commonsense policies that will make life work for more Americans is a top priority. The bills approved today are part of this effort, and I hope they will receive the same robust support on the House floor as they did today in committee.”

"I firmly believe that in order to successfully prepare our students for the workforce, our nation’s educators must be able to identify and have access to successful and proven techniques,” said Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY). “I am proud to be the lead Democratic co-sponsor of the bipartisan Strengthening Education through Research Act ​that will strengthen research, improve accountability, refocus the priority on equity in education for our most vulnerable student populations, and improve overall student success throughout our education system." 

To learn more about the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act, click here. To learn more about the Strengthening Education through Research Act, click here. To access markup materials or view an archived webcast, click here.

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Kline Statement: Markup of H.R. 4366, the Strengthening Education through Research Act, and H.R. 10, the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act

Education & the Workforce Committee - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 12:00am

Today the committee will mark up two pieces of bipartisan legislation that will help improve the nation’s K-12 education system.

We begin this morning with consideration of H.R. 4366, the Strengthening Education through Research Act, introduced by Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Chairman Todd Rokita and Ranking Member Carolyn McCarthy. This proposal will enhance the federal education research arm, known as the Institute of Education Sciences.

As we have discussed in committee hearings, parents, teachers, and school administrators rely on quality research to identify and implement the education practices that are mostly likely to raise student achievement in the classroom.

For example, the information collected and distributed by the Institute of Education Sciences can help rural educators determine whether a web-based tutoring program will improve students’ reading comprehension. The Institute’s research can also provide urban school leaders with valuable best practices for encouraging low-income students to pursue postsecondary education opportunities.

Mr. Rokita and Ms. McCarthy have carefully crafted a commonsense piece of legislation that will make smart reforms to streamline the Institute’s research centers, improve the quality and relevance of research, and encourage more timely dissemination of useful information that will benefit teachers, parents, and students. I urge my colleagues to support the Strengthening Education through Research Act.

The second piece of legislation before the committee today is H.R. 10, the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charters Act, which my friend George Miller and I introduced last week. Similar to legislation advanced by the committee last Congress, this bill will support state efforts to start, expand, and replicate successful charter schools.

I recently had the opportunity to visit two charter schools in my home state of Minnesota: Global Academy in Columbia Heights and Aspen Academy in Prior Lake. While touring the schools, I watched kindergarteners learning foreign languages, listened to seventh graders animatedly debate their Constitutional rights, and saw third graders actually excited to be quizzed on their multiplication tables.

In every classroom, without exception, the children were focused and motivated. Teachers were innovating and experimenting with new educational games and programs, and parents were uniformly thrilled with the results. Charter schools like Aspen and Global are helping kids make amazing progress – and, perhaps most importantly, they are teaching our children the joy of learning.

Mr. Miller and I truly believe quality charter schools are an integral part of a strong and successful education system. We have worked together to develop a piece of legislation that will encourage more states and families to embrace charter schools – while also including several provisions to urge charter schools to share best practices with traditional public schools and reach out to special populations, including at-risk students, children with disabilities, and English learners.

The Success and Opportunity through Quality Charters Act will support choice, innovation, and excellence in education. Both H.R. 10 and H.R. 4366 should be an easy “yes” vote for every member here today; I encourage my colleagues to help us move these important bills swiftly to the House floor for full consideration.

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***MEDIA ADVISORY*** Committee to Consider Legislation to Help Ensure Fair Union Elections, Protect Worker Privacy

Education & the Workforce Committee - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 10:00am

On Wednesday, April 9 at 10:00 a.m., the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, chaired by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), will mark up the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act (H.R. 4320) and the Employee Privacy Protection Act (H.R. 4321). The markup will take place in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building. 

The Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, introduced by Chairman Kline, embodies commonsense reforms that will help protect employer free speech and worker free choice in union elections. For example, the bill provides employers at least 14 days to prepare their case to present before a NLRB election officer and preserves their ability to raise additional concerns throughout the pre-election hearing. The legislation also reasserts the board’s responsibility to address critical issues before a union is allowed to represent workers. To learn more about the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, click here. 

The Employee Privacy Protection Act, introduced by Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN), will counteract the NLRB’s attempt to provide union organizers the private information of workers and their families. The bill safeguards the privacy of America’s workers by allowing employees to choose the easiest and safest way to communicate with organizers during the election process. To learn more about the Employee Privacy and Protection Act, click here

To learn more about this markup, visit http://edworkforce.house.gov/markups

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Monday Morning Mojo: Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

InteroMojo - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 7:30am

Have you ever noticed when some people try and make a change in any area of their F5 (Faith, Family, Friends, Fitness, Finance) whether it be their business, their health, their relationships, you name it, they think the way to make it happen is just simply spending more time working on “it”.  Not just a little more, but piling it on.  They actually think running around like a chicken with your head cut off is actually going to accomplish something.  Yeah right! I’m not going to say we may not need to work harder and be more disciplined, but I think it’s more about working on our priorities and our efficiency as opposed to working on the volume and amount of time.

Don’t do more…do different…do important.  Well, maybe some of us need to do more. I see a lot of people who “show up” but are not engaged in what they are doing.  You know what I am talking about, the ones who stand around the water cooler all day criticizing everyone like they are the authority instead of looking in the mirror. They show up in body, but not in mind and action.  It’s like their whole life is spent on the practice range but they never tee it up on the first tee.  You have to GO FOR “IT” or “IT” won’t happen. Don’t mistake showing up for work, for working – a lot of people show up, but don’t do anything towards accomplishing their goals and become successful.  This is a great question to consider: Using work as an example – if you owned your company, would you pay yourself what you want to make for what you do every day?  Be honest.

If what you’re doing now is not getting you what you want, doing more of what you are currently doing is probably not going to get you what you want. It’s just going to make you more frustrated. You have to do different – or in some cases you just have to do something. It’s about simplifying, being consistent and actually doing it – not just thinking about it and planning on how to do it, but actually DOING IT. Create rituals and systems that are easily duplicated for the long haul.  Because it is the accumulation effect of the small things over a long period of time which are going to make the biggest impact and are going to be something you will be able to maintain for a long period of time.

CLICK HERE to check out a great video from the Stanford Graduate Business School on Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.  Check it out…it is pretty interesting.

Success is about doing more of what you need to do, not more of what you want to do.

Make it a great week!

Categories: Latest News

Rockefeller: Crude Oil Industry Commitment to Safety Seems to be "Lip Service"

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV today released the following statement after the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) reported that the crude oil industry has not kept its promise to share testing data with the agency. Last month, the American Petroleum Institute (API) pledged to Congress to share this data with the Department of Transportation as part of the agency's work to ensure the safe transportation of crude.

GSA Seeks Developers for Federal Triangle South Project

GSA news releases - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 1:00am
GSA is seeking developers who can provide construction and development services in exchange for the GSA Regional Office Building and Cotton Annex.

Weekend Wellness: The Benefits of COQ10

InteroMojo - Sat, 04/05/2014 - 9:15am

Recently, while with a group of clients, the subject of COQ10 came up.  Many have never heard of its benefits…or even what it is.  I thought I’d put together a “summary” so now you’d be “in the know” with such an important supplement!  Of course…if you think this is something to add to your bag of goodies, check with your doctor, especially if you are on any medications.

The body produces coenzyme Q10 naturally. It is a necessary compound for all cells. As the body ages, levels of CoQ10 decrease. Patients with conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer have low levels of the essential compound. Supplementation with CoQ10 eliminates the deficiency and may help to treat these medical conditions, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Chronic Fatigue

Users can take coenzyme Q10 as an energy booster, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The use of CoQ10 supplements may also relieve the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, but more research is needed to confirm the effect on the condition, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Antioxidant

CoQ10 works in the body as an antioxidant, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Antioxidants attack free radicals in the body that destroy cells. Free radicals occur naturally in the body as it ages, but they are also caused by pollution, UV light and smoking. Antioxidants may help to reduce the damage caused by free radicals.

Heart Disease

The effect of CoQ10 on heart disease may be the result of its antioxidant effect and the improvement in energy in the cells, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Patients who experience heart failure have low levels of the compound and may benefit from supplementation. There is more research needed on the effect of CoQ10 on heart disease and heart failure to determine if it will be helpful to patients, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Cholesterol

Coenzyme Q10 may be used with statin drugs to lower blood cholesterol levels. The supplement may help to prevent coenzyme Q10 deficiency in patients who are taking statin drugs. There has not been sufficient research in the use of CoQ10 in patients with high cholesterol alone, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Blood Pressure

CoQ10 does appear to lower blood pressure in patients. Coenzyme Q10 deficiency is found in patients with high blood pressure, but it is not known if the low levels of the compound are responsible for the condition, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Stomach Upset

The only known side effect of CoQ10 supplementation is an upset stomach in some patients, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Drug Interactions

CoQ10 supplements can interact with other drugs taken for medical conditions such as blood thinning medications, blood pressure medication and some cancer fighting medications. Patients should consult with their doctor before using CoQ10, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Categories: Latest News

***MEDIA ADVISORY*** Committee to Mark Up Legislation to Support Quality Charters, Strengthen Education Research

Education & the Workforce Committee - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 12:00pm

On Tuesday, April 8 at 10:00 a.m., the House Education and the Workforce Committee, chaired by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), will mark up the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act (H.R. 10), and the Strengthening Education through Research Act (H.R. 4366). The markup will take place in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

The Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act, introduced by Chairman Kline and Ranking Member George Miller (D-CA), will help encourage the growth of charter schools. H.R. 10 will modernize the Charter School Program to better support state efforts to replicate and expand successful charter schools and support choice, innovation, and excellence in education. To learn more about the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act, click here.

The Strengthening Education through Research Act, introduced by Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN) and Ranking Member Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), will reauthorize the Education Sciences Reform Act to improve the federal research structure. H.R. 4366 will ensure states have better access to timely, relevant, and useful information that can help raise student achievement levels in the classroom. To learn more about the Strengthening Education through Research Act, click here.

To learn more about this markup, visit www.edworkforce.house.gov/markups.

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4/2/14- Ex Parte Communication; Revision of the Commission’s Program Access Rules

Office of Advocacy - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 11:35am
Landing page summary: 

On behalf of the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, I am writing to urge the Federal Communications Commission to move forward and strengthen protections for small multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) under the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 (Cable Act) by finalizing certain revisions to the Commission’s Program Access Rules.  In light of increasing vertical integration between cable programmers and distributors, including the anticipated acquisition of Time Warner Cable by Comcast/NBCU, small MVPDs have asked Advocacy to raise their concerns regarding the FCC’s program access rules and support reasonable revisions that would better protect small MVPDs from discriminatory pricing in cable programming.  Printer Friendly Version

Printer Friendly Version

April 2, 2014

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Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

Cool Apps: Control Electronics From Anywhere

InteroMojo - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 9:15am

Ahhh, you forgot to turn on the porch light before you left for the evening.  Now it’s getting later and later and you’re not sure what time you’ll actually be home.  With your house looking empty, your mind starts to wander with scenarios of mysterious men in all black approaching your house, checking out the perimeter and maybe trying a few doorknobs to break in.  Then you remember, “Didn’t I set up a WeMo switch for that porch light?”  You pull out your phone and with the click of a button, your porch light goes on and the mysterious men in your mind scatter.  Your home is a little safer and your mind is put to rest.

That’s the power of WeMo, a product that allows you to control your home electronics from anywhere with your mobile device. If you can plug it in, you can control it with WeMo.  That means, lamps, TVs, small appliances, pretty much anything.

The device operates over Wi-Fi and mobile internet so you’re sure to always have access to your electronics.  To use WeMo, all you have to do is plug the WeMo Switch ($49.99) into any regular 120v wall outlet and the item you would like to control into the WeMo Switch.  Download the free WeMo app and tada! You have control of that item anywhere your phone is.

The best part is this little device does so much more than just turn on and off electronics.  You can also trigger items with motion or put them on a schedule.  Set up multiple switches prior to leaving for vacation and stop worry about your house the whole time you’re gone.  If you’re concerned about the status of your electronics, just check the app on your phone.  WeMo is a piece of cake that gives you peace of mind. Definitely a must have for any new home owner.

Check out the below video to see exactly how this great little piece of technology works:

Click here to play video

Categories: Latest News

ADVISORY: Hearing on Tax Challenges for Small Business WEDNESDAY

House Small Business Committee News - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 12:00am
The House Small Business Committee, chaired by Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), today announced the schedule for the week of April 7, 2014:

On Wednesday, April 9, at 1:00 p.m., the Small Business Committee will conduct a hearing titled The Biggest Tax Problems for Small Businesses. The hearing will examine some common tax challenges for small businesses. In addition, a new National Small Business Association survey on tax compliance will be released on Wednesday in conjunction with the testimony of one of its members, Tim Reynolds, President, Tribute, Inc., Hudson, OH.

The growing number of tax provisions means that small business owners must spend more resources on compliance rather than growing and creating jobs. Tax complexity is a big problem for small businesses: according to the Internal Revenue Service’s own National Taxpayer Advocate, there were over 500 changes to the tax code in 2010 alone, an average of more than one per day. And high tax rates mean small firms have less capital to invest back into their companies or create jobs.

“This time of year is dreaded by small businesses – a time when many companies and individuals are finalizing their tax returns,” said Chairman Graves. “Today’s tax code drains precious resources that could be used to grow a company and create jobs. This hearing will explore tax complexity and the high tax burden for small companies, and how they are dealing with these challenges in a tough economy.”

Event Details:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 1:00 p.m. EDT
2360 Rayburn House Office Building
Small Business Committee
The Biggest Tax Problems for Small Businesses

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Kline Applauds House Passage of Save American Workers Act

Education & the Workforce Committee - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 3:00pm

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the Save American Workers Act (H.R. 2575), legislation to restore the 40-hour work week under President Obama’s health care law: 

The president’s health care law is leading to fewer jobs and lower wages for America’s workers. This pain is inflicted not only on our nation’s workplaces, but on schools and college campuses as well. The Save American Workers Act provides relief to those men and women who have seen their hours cut and their take-home pay reduced because of the president’s fatally-flawed health care law. If the president wants to give working families a pay raise, he should support this important legislation. 

Through news articles, hearing testimony, and feedback from education stakeholders, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce continues to learn about ObamaCare’s consequences for the nation’s education system. During debate on H.R. 2575, committee Republicans highlighted stories that document how the health care law is undermining the strength of schools, colleges, and universities. Click here to watch committee members urge their colleagues to provide relief for America’s schools by supporting the Save American Workers Act. 

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High-Speed Rail Authority and Women Construction Owners & Executives Sign Memorandum of Understanding

WCOE News - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 2:12pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) today joined the Women Construction Owners & Executives (WCOE) in a major effort to maximize small business participation, especially those owned by women, on the high-speed rail system.   During a special ceremony on Capitol Hill at the WCOE National Conference, Authority Board of Directors Chairman Dan Richard and WCOE President Lee Cunningham signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that ensures women-owned construction firms and female construction executives are aware of, and prepared for, job opportunities on the project.

The Authority Board of Directors is keenly aware of the need to help small businesses, especially those that employ women or are owned by women. Board Member Katherine Perez-Estolano co-founded a company that crafts environmentally friendly solutions to create vibrant communities and Board Member Thea Selby is the owner of a digital marketing and communications firm.

“There are almost eight million women-owned firms in the United States and their numbers are growing all the time,” Authority Board Chair Dan Richard said. “As they gain experience, studies show women are running businesses more efficiently and looking to expand at earlier stages than they did before. Providing a pathway to the high-speed rail project will help drive that business model and help improve the lives of women and their families along with those they employ and supervise.”

“WCOE grows contacts, contracts and the bottom line for women in construction. That is why I am so excited about the MOU,” declared WCOE President Lee Cunningham, who also sits on the Authority’s Business Advisory Council and owns BT Metal Sales & Fabrication. “Our sole mission is to level the playing field for women contractors and female construction executives. Our partnership with the Authority will allow us to do just that and open the door for opportunities for women on the largest infrastructure project in the nation.”

The MOU outlines the Authority and WCOE’s joint outreach efforts to strengthen and expand the utilization of women-owned firms and women construction executives on the high-speed rail project. The Authority and WCOE will exchange information and material to improve awareness of the project and have made a strong commitment to facilitating joint education and training programs that will benefit women-owned companies and female construction executives.

Small businesses are playing a major role on the high-speed rail project through the Authority’s aggressive Small Business Program. It calls for a 30 percent goal for small business participation which includes a 10 percent goal for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) and a three percent goal for Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE).

Categories: Latest News

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