News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Knight Foundation

Greater Akron Chamber

Levin Furniture


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Ohio


Minority professionals looking for their place at the table
Minority professionals say they feel they don't receive the same amount of business like their counterparts. 
Story by DAVID C. BARNETT


 
In The Region:
One of the results of the Civil Rights struggles of the 1950s and 60s was an effort to level the playing field in the work place. Today, government contracts often have so-called "diversity goals", intended to help give minority-owned businesses a chance to better compete for projects. From Ohio Public Radio member station WCPN, David C. Barnett reports that some Northeast Ohio minority firms that specialize in legal, accounting or other professional services claim they're still shut out of the game.
Hear Barnett talk about minority professionals looking for their place at the ta

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:29)


(sound)
For the past thirty years or so, minority programs have been a boon to small companies that sell stuff or build stuff. A new county office might have its copier toner supplied by a Hispanic-owned firm, for instance, or an African American company might get to do some electrical work for a federal building project.  But, Cleveland attorney Ronald Johnson says a minority-owned law firm has a harder time landing contracts.

RONALD JOHNSON: Professional services are a little bit more intellectual in nature.  For example, you pay lawyers to provide legal services that are rooted in experience and judgment, as opposed to purchasing supplies or providing construction services which is a little more defined. 

In other words, it’s easy enough to look through catalogs or go to showrooms and weigh the differences between brands of bolts or boxes. Hiring the services of marketing firms, accountants or lawyers is a lot different.

RONALD JOHNSON: How do you effectively evaluate and differentiate Lawyer A from Lawyer B?  Is it going to be their experience?  Is it going to be their law school grades?

Without any hard and fast criteria to rank professional service providers, the choice often comes down to advice from friends, according to University of Akron Management professor, Steven Ash. He says those relationships are built between executives who are part of similar social circuits --- they’re members of the same clubs, they play golf together, and so forth.  Ash notes that a manager will claim that he or she just wants to get the best person for the job.

STEVEN ASH: But, in reality, how’s that happen?  Well, you go with someone who was recommended to you.  You want to feel comfortable that they’ll do a good job for you.

Some owners of minority firms claim that they are shut out of the bidding process, because they never have the chance to build such relationships. 

Cleveland-based marketing professional Julius Dorsey says that, over the course of his twenty-five years in the business, little has changed.

JULIUS DORSEY:  This is a conversation I could have had with you five years ago, ten years ago, or 25 years ago.

But, Adrian Moldanado says that the bidding process isn’t so closed.  The former director of Procurement and Diversity for Cuyahoga County suggests that minority firms often aren’t big enough to handle the work required by a government contract. 

ADRIAN MOLDANADO: Listen, there’s no provision that stops any minority business from bidding as a prime contractor themselves, but what happens is that they usually won’t have the financial capacity to do it. It comes down to capacity --- the ability to do the job.

Attorney Ronald Johnson has heard the capacity argument before and he thinks it’s sometimes used as an excuse by companies that have already made up their minds to go with people they know.  He says it’s a barrier that’s hard to break through.

RONALD JOHNSON: The real frustration is how do we move to the next level?

A local Latino lawyer says it’s an exasperating problem, but he wouldn’t comment for this story” because he didn’t want to come off sounding, as he put it, like a “whiney minority”. 

Ronald Johnson is encouraged that the Greater Cleveland legal community has begun talking about ways to increase diversity, but like marketer Julius Dorsey he wishes such talk would produce actual results.

RONALD JOHNSON: I think it’s optimistic, but it’s just a little bit slow.  I wish we could move a little bit faster.

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook



Stories with Recent Comments

Canton's proposed Timken-McKinley school merger is drawing spirited debate
From a sports opinion Varsity would have a lot more talent to choose from So Im sure varsity sports would improve.Also Timkens name would be much more published...

Canton school board will decide whether to merge high schools
I really hope we can save those jobs, usually we try to cut budgets but the demand is still the same. Then we look bad a year or two after the descion is made. ...

FirstEnergy wants PUCO guarantees on nuclear and coal prices
Would just comment that the plant has admitted the following (as reporting in the Akron Beacon Journal): "The utility has said it may have difficulty keeping t...

Mozzarella's easy when you have a way with curd
Hello, Where can I get such a heater that you have? Does it hold temperature that you set? What brand and model is it? Thank you in advance!! :)

Pluto: A healthy LeBron James is the key for the rocky Cavs
It's time to back our Cleveland professional teams through thick and thin. I've seen management, players and coaches come and go and it hasn't changed a thing. ...

Legal marijuana group offers new details about ballot issue
Americans feel as if they should have the right to decide on their own if and when it is or is not a responsible time to have a drink or smoke a joint. The fac...

The PUCO is assessing what happened in Akron's AT&T outage
not the first time for that steam pipe break... happened in the late 70's when the office was being converted to electronic switch ESS.. was a big mess then but...

The freeze of green-energy standards hurts Ohio wind and solar industries
What do we do at night and when the wind isn't blowing? Where does the power come from to back-up these renewable sources?

Gov. Kasich may still face budget battles with Ohio lawmakers
Governor Kasich continues to disappoint many of us who voted for him when he was elected Governor four years ago. It is way past time for charter schools to b...

FairlawnGig could bring super-fast fiber optic internet to the city
Sign me up! When can we have it. It is not nice to tease us with the possibility and then make us wait. Though I have to add that the speed to China does req...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University