January 9, 2002

The Chicago Transit Board at its monthly meeting today approved a contract with Dust Em Clean Maintenance Co. for janitorial services. The 24-month contract will provide cleaning services at several CTA facilities including its Bus and Rail Vehicle Maintenance Training Center, Rail Heavy Maintenance Shop and various CTA warehouses. The total amount of the contract is $875,000.

The company was founded in 1996 and is based in Chicago's Southwest Side. Dust Em Clean Maintenance Co. is owned by an African-American woman and originally provided residential cleaning services but has branched out in recent years to include commercial venues. Many of the company's employees attend an eight-week environmental training program taught by Goodwill Industries. They become familiar with cleaning products and heavy-duty machinery while earning a cleaning certificate.

Dust Em Clean Maintenance Co. also meets the CTA's criteria for being a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firm. The company has been invited to participate in the CTA's newly established Business Development Program (BDP).

The Business Development Program is a program designed to further develop the business skills of DBE firms doing business with the CTA. The CTA has an overall goal of providing 30% of its contracts to DBE firms. Disadvantaged Business Enterprises are defined by the Federal Transit Administration and the Small Business Administration as businesses owned by those who are socially and economically disadvantaged, minorities or women.

?As a responsible government agency, our workforce and outside vendors should reflect the diversity of the community we serve," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. ?The Business Development Program is way for the CTA to help DBE's further develop their businesses as they compete to provide goods and services to the CTA. Participating firms will gain valuable marketplace experience and the CTA will gain additional qualified vendors."

?Our company is always looking to grow and to provide more employment opportunities and this CTA contract gives us that chance," said Dust Em Clean owner Cheryl Gill. ?Our participation in the CTA's Business Development Program will help us achieve our future growth and hiring goals."

Ralph G. Moore and Associates administers the Business Development Program for the CTA. The program provides opportunities for DBE firms to gain experience by working on smaller projects as they move toward managing larger jobs. It also provides training and development assistance as firms gain experience. Since its creation last month, approximately 50 DBE firms have applied to join the BDP.

?By mentoring Disadvantaged Business Enterprise firms, we are contributing to their success in the services they deliver to the CTA as well as other businesses they might serve in the future," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?As Dust Em Clean Maintenance builds its clientele, the CTA will have played an important part in helping the firm enhance its marketability."

The program operates with a two-stage evaluation process consisting of a Developmental Stage and a Transitional Stage. The Developmental Stage will help participants overcome their social and economic disadvantage by providing assistance that will enable them to access relevant markets and to strengthen their financial, managerial and capacity-building skills, giving them the ability to do more business. The Transitional Stage prepares participants to leave the program with the foundation, resources and knowledge to remain competitive.

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