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.

Greater Akron Chamber

NOCHE

Hennes Paynter Communications


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

Ohio becomes first in the nation to dump PARCC testing
Best test to use for elementary schools is the old pre common core Iowa test of basic skills. This test measures apples to apples and tests the skills appropri...

Ohio is moving forward with new standardized tests
Mr Chow, Nice piece on testing. Should not Ohio go to an open bid process for the new assessment contract? Ohio has stayed with a "connected" DC non-profit fo...

The Surpreme Court gay-marriage decision plays out in Ohio Amish country
Keep in mind that the majority of the people residing in Holmes County are Amish, a church people who do not vote because they do not believe in governmental ru...

Akron council committee recommends Forney for its opening
Which committee member voted for Wilhite?

Nearly a dozen Cuyahoga gay couples get licenses to marry after the Supreme Court ruling
Presiding Judge Anthony J. Russo a graduate of Chanel High School and supposed member of St. Francis Parish in Gates Mills has just excommunicated himself. As ...

Canton Youth Symphony is named orchestra of the year
This is what makes CSO the hippest small town orchestra in America!

What can be expected if Ohio's tobacco taxes increase?
let's face it! The increase has little to do with smoking cessation

Rare Cleveland Indians photo from 1911 hits the auction block
Paddy Livingston, who cut his teeth on a Louisville Slugger in Kent, Ohio was one of the immortals that played in that game. He was the catcher. Ty Cobb actuall...

Nexus denies Green's request to relocate its planned gas pipeline
These people have so much power. Too much. They could care less about the people they leave when it is done. Spectra does not, and admits, they do not do the...

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