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School board president lauded for ‘Waukegan Model’

Michael Rodriguez

Michael Rodriguez

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Suburban Minority Contractors Association

1250 S. Grove Ave, Suite 200

Barrington, IL 60010

(847) 852-5010

Updated: December 11, 2012 6:02AM

Waukegan School Board President Michael Rodriguez was recently recognized by the Suburban Minority Contractors Association for his work in ensuring minority participation in the massive District 60 construction project.

Rodriguez was honored along with several political and construction industry leaders from around Chicago during the Barrington-based SMCA annual Millennium Builder’s awards banquet Nov. 1.

He is the recipient of the Visionary Award for his — and the school board’s — efforts to “exponentially increase the percentage of minority-owned vendors and business owners” working on District 60’s $37.7 million Capital Development Board expansion project.

The SMCA recognized the board’s setting of “aspirational” goals of 25 percent minority-owned business participation on the project, exceeding the 11 percent required by the CDB grant, and greatly benefitting local contractors.

“A project of this magnitude could have a significant positive economic impact on the community if local contractors were able to successfully compete for some of this work,” Rodriguez said. “The enrollment in our school district is approximately 95 percent minority, and we wanted to see the workforce involved in this project mirror the population that we serve, to some extent. For that reason we set ambitious aspirational goals.”

The board’s higher-than-required goals were so successful that the process by which they were implemented is now referred to as the “Waukegan Model” and it is being examined by other governmental agencies.

The three-phase expansion will add a total of 116 classrooms to 12 district elementary schools. The most ambitious building project in the history of the district, the expansion is slated for completion in fall 2013.

Other Millennium Builder honorees included state Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan, Legislative Award, and Kristi LaFleur, executive director of Illinois tollway, Executive Leadership Award;

The Suburban Minority Contractors Association was founded in 1990 as a non-profit professional trade association of minority-owned and operated businesses in the Chicago area. It aims to provide advocacy services, training, and assistance to minority contractors seeking to conduct business in the Chicago area.

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