The objective of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's Mentor-Protégé Program is to increase the number of Port Authority–certified Minority and Woman-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) capable of bidding successfully on larger construction contracts with the Port Authority and other public and private organizations. The program seeks to improve the protégés' management, organization and construction skills by teaching them new strategic tools to speed the growth of their businesses.
Launched in 2002, this unique and innovative program represents a significant commitment that major construction companies have made to act as mentors to protégé firms, sharing their business and construction expertise and providing crucial industry exposure. The first class of protégé firms graduated in April 2005, successfully completing the inaugural three-year program, with many reporting increases in their businesses as a result of their participation. This program is one major example of how the Port Authority, working with its public and private partners, helps strengthen the regional economy, creates new business opportunities and broadens workforce participation.
The Mentor-Protégé training prepares the protégés for proficiency in the following eight categories: Construction Contract Law, Construction Estimating, Financial Management (Financial Strategies), Managing Projects Between $500,000 and $3 Million (Project Management), OSHA and Your Responsibilities–Understanding Safety, Planning and Scheduling to Reduce Project Costs, Project Controls and Professional Development.
The training takes place in a formal classroom environment and is reinforced by the mentors via one-on-one consultation.
Mentors provide "on-call" availability of a professional representative whose commitment to protégés involves a range of advice from project planning to estimating, bidding and project closeout, along with sharing a broad range of other important general and trade contracting information. Through this exceptional exposure, protégés are expected to incorporate this new knowledge into their business practices, making tactical and tangible changes in their approach and operations.
During the three-year program, protégés participate in seminars, information exchange sessions and mandatory curriculum classes. Additionally, protégé firms are exposed to networking events where they interact directly with well-known players in the industry, make formal presentations and secure the business connections and know-how necessary to further develop their businesses. They also can form partnerships with other protégé firms to expand their respective capabilities.