Initiatives Aim to Benefit Small Businesses, Job Seekers

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Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry (photo courtesy city of Fort Wayne) Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry (photo courtesy city of Fort Wayne)
FORT WAYNE -

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry has unveiled two initiatives aimed at assisting people with job opportunities and helping small businesses increase their participation on city contracts. The efforts stem from recommendations from the Mayor's Opportunity Advisory Council.

The first initiative is the “ban the box” practice, which removes the requirement of declaring a felony charge when applying for a city job. Though the city will still conduct background checks, Henry's office says the effort "provides qualified individuals an appropriate opportunity and access to employment with the city."

Fort Wayne joins more than 150 cities and counties and 33 states that have adopted a "ban the box" policy.

Through the second initiative, the city is also revising its emerging business enterprises executive order, which allows small businesses to earn up to $10 million in revenue annually through city contracts. The previous policy capped the requirement at $5 million.

"The changes will allow the emerging business enterprise program goal of 10 percent emerging business enterprise participation on construction contracts to also be satisfied with the use of disadvantaged business enterprises, minority business enterprises and women’s business enterprises that are certified firms by the State of Indiana," the mayor's office said in a news release. "The benefits include assisting small businesses in their ability to serve as subcontractors on City projects, enhance a company’s opportunities to fill areas where subcontractors aren’t available and increase participation from emerging business enterprises."

The Mayor's Opportunity Advisory Council was established to provide best practice recommendations to continuously promote and strengthen the city's diversity policies and procedures.

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