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.

Akron Children's Hospital

Akron General


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

Cleveland deal ramps up civilian oversight of police
i would like to see police get mandatory psych evals one a year from out side the department.

The generation gap in care for developmentally disabled Ohioans
I don't understand how a few hours a day of caregiving can possibly help a person who lives with complex/multiple disabilities. Many waiver recipients totally d...

Marijuana referendum may change more than pot's legal status in Ohio
If our representatives would act in accordance with the will of the people things like this wouldn't happen. They dragged their feet and blocked discussion on t...

Area pastors and congregation members protest justice system
I live in Cleveland. trust me when I say the high incarceration rate is due to the high crime rate.

Ohio's attorney general rejectsthe latest proposal to legalize marijuana
i think the ag launguage is money hes talking about drug companies must pay him more than responsible ohio can

PBS documentary chronicles the fall of Saigon through new footage and stories
Hi, Does anyone know the number - in the pbs special "Last Days of Vietnam" documentary, of how many Vietnamese were evacuated? Please e-mail me the answer. T...

Protest planned at tomorrow's FirstEnergy meeting
The problems of the poor and downtrodden have nothing to do with First Energy. They are the result of Republican legislators who consistently reduce taxes on th...

Ohio bill would help smaller communities with LGBT discrimination laws
Do we not try and have rights for all individuals equally? On the HUD list of "preferred" candidates who get "special consideration" it states that: For purp...

Ohio likely will continue with two types of police academies
Wake up people your wanting a Harvard law school education for a job that may pay a little over the poverty level. I don't know anyone who could support a wife ...

Police Week's ties from NE Ohio to D.C.
The men and women in blue who risk their lives everyday to serve and protect us....and this is as much recognition and appreciation that NPR/WKSU feels to offer...

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