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Monday, June 17, 2024

Washington Township grants $100 million in contracts to diverse suppliers

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Washington Township schools have announced that their Supplier Diversity Program has awarded more than $100 million to diverse suppliers to make improvements to the district schools.

“Our supplier diversity program reinforces our commitment to being a truly inclusive school district,” Superintendent Dr. Nikki Woodson said in a press release.

Through the 2016 and 2020 referendums, $470 million was allocated to the township for new constructions, renovations and environmental upgrades. The Supplier Diversity Program was launched in 2016 and focuses on firms owned by veterans, minorities, women and the physically challenged.

“We want to be a district that has equity in the classroom, so why not have equity in the suppliers of these projects?” said Bill Turner, secretary of the Washington Township School Board.

The projects include two new elementary schools, one new middle school, an early learning center, and the Paul Logan Field House. Renovations to improve school safety and environmental improvements were also a part of the allocated funds.

“(The suppliers) have built and renovated these schools to make them better places to learn,” Turner said.

The impact extends beyond the construction projects. According to Turner, the contracts also prioritize companies in the community to put some of the taxpayers’ money back into local small businesses.

“The impact is that there is more community involvement … It shows we are supportive of equity everywhere,” Turner said.

Of the allocated funds for the program, over $57 million has been secured by minority-owned firms, $38 million by women-owned firms, almost $5 million by veteran-owned businesses and $438,000 by firms owned by the physically challenged.

“This has been a very long process. We didn’t do this alone,” Turner said.

The $100 million dedicated to diverse suppliers was a lofty goal, according to Turner, but the district and school board made sure that the program stayed at the top of the priorities list as they sought out contractors.

“As the board changed, we still focused on this program … We wanted to make sure we could have safer schools, better learning spaces and more open concepts,” Turner said.

The Supplier Diversity Program was designed and is managed by the Winston/Terrell Group, an Indianapolis-based firm with experience in supplier diversity.

“Our firm remains proud to partner on this successful endeavor,” Robin Winston of Winston/Terrell said in a press release. “Never again will firms owned by women, minorities, veterans, and the physically challenged be told that they lack the requisite skills to compete for work.”

Contact Staff Writer Hanna Rauworth at 317.762.7854 or follow her on Instagram at @hanna.rauworth 

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