HISD Board president discusses district’s M/WBE program at Workshop Wednesday

This month’s Workshop Wednesday featured HISD Board of Education President Rhonda Skillern-Jones speaking on the importance of the district’s minority- and women- owned business enterprises (M/WBE) program.

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About 40 representatives from a wide variety of both large and small companies turned out for the opportunity to hear the trustee share tips and to ask questions about doing business with HISD.

Skillern-Jones, who has strongly advocated for diverse participation throughout HISD, told the group that it takes effort to compete for district business, but for companies who are willing to do it and deliver quality goods and services, the benefits are many.

“It’s a lot of work, it’s hard, but this is a lot of money we’re talking about, and it doesn’t come easy,” Skillern-Jones said.

She encouraged the group to target their services, to pursue contracts in areas in which they are experts, and to make sure they are meeting the minority component.

“Whatever it is you do, do that thing well,” Skillern-Jones said. “Don’t be afraid to partner with another company that can bring something you don’t have – financial resources, expertise, or a strong minority component.”

HISD regularly exceeds its M/WBE goals of 20 percent for purchasing (over $50,000) and construction and 25 percent for professional services.

District 3 Trustee Manuel Rodriguez was also on hand for the workshop and both trustees spent time speaking one on one with attendees after the presentation.

HISD’s Business Assistance Supplier Diversity department hosts Workshop Wednesday, which is held on the first Wednesday of each month. Topics covered vary and are targeted to provide relevant information and assistance to M/WBEs interested in doing business with the district.

“We’re always here to help,” said Alexis Licata general manager of HISD’s business assistance department. “If you have a question, give us a call. We’re going to walk you through it and tell you exactly what you need.”

The business assistance department also hosts a variety of networking and educational events throughout the year to assist minority-owned companies who are interested in growing their businesses.

For more information on upcoming workshops and networking opportunities, contact the Business Assistance Supplier Diversity office at 713-556-7273.