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Editorial: Building the economy

Harrisburg University reached its 20 percent threshold for
hiring minority-owned businesses and 5 percent goal for hiring women-owned
firms to build the school’s new facility in downtown Harrisburg.

Harrisburg University reached its 20 percent threshold for
hiring minority-owned businesses and 5 percent goal for hiring women-owned
firms to build the school’s new facility in downtown Harrisburg.

The university has helped 22 minority- and women-owned
businesses from the region garner $10 million in work, Dellanor Young told
Business Journal Staff Writer Eric Veronikis (see “Inclusion success,” page 1).

Good for HU, and good for the local business community, too.

Requiring a certain percentage of minority subcontractors on
a project that relies on public financing is easy to understand. Where
competition for government work tends historically to be tilted toward the
large, established businesses, the minority requirements create a more level
playing field.

Small businesses owned by women and minorities have to be
certified by the state to participate in projects that have the hiring
requirements. Not every owner wants to be in the program. The profit margins
tend to be narrow, and there’s a lot of red tape. But for the owners that do
participate, public projects offer a way to hone their business processes,
develop contacts that bring them more work and grow their business.

It’s no surprise that Harrisburg University
would embrace the challenges of meeting minority-contractor standards. The
university was created to meet the training and education needs of businesses
around the region. Making sure as many people as possible have a chance is just
one more way to meet a need.

Reynolds Construction Management Inc. of Harrisburg deserves some credit, too.
Reynolds is the construction manager and primary contractor that found enough
businesses to hit the threshold, no small accomplishment. Here’s a big company
buying into the idea that nurturing and partnering with small businesses helps
everybody win.

A company like Goal Line Construction, also of Harrisburg, might still
be scuffling job to job if not for the boost from the drywall work at the HU
building. No doubt, other companies working on the project have benefited in
the same way.

Put it all together, and you get a ripple effect that
strengthens the business community throughout the region.

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