Skills-building, networking event aims to grow diversity on state projectsSPRINGFIELD The Illinois Department of Transportation is hosting the 31st “Today’s Challenge, Tomorrow’s Reward” conference on May 9 and 10 at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield. The longtime conference hosted by IDOT’s Office of Business and Workforce Diversity provides female- and minority-owned businesses with opportunities to make connections and develop skills to grow and succeed.

“Today’s Challenge, Tomorrow’s Reward is one of the premier events in the state for our contracting community to build relationships and open the door to participate on projects,”said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman.“Thanks to the historic Rebuild Illinois capital program and unprecedented investments happening at the federal level, there has never been a better time to be involved in the transportation industry. Under Gov. Pritzker, IDOT is committed to making its projects more diverse and inclusive. The information at this conference can be life-changing for you and your business.”

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Former Chicago Bears cornerback Ray McElroyOver two days, Today’s Challenge, Tomorrow’s Reward offers workshops to build skills, seminars on best practices as well as networking opportunities for firms and contractors wanting to do business with the state through the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program.

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Conference topics will include how to become DBE certified, work category expansion, funding, training opportunities, “getting paid” and bridge bundling. Industry leaders and IDOT staff will be leading sessions as well on how to bid on, participate and deliver projects. Speakers include former Chicago Bears cornerback Ray McElroy and WSP USA Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion Tanya Adams.

The event is attended by subcontractors and prime contractors in construction, trucking, engineering, and other consulting services. Visit or click here for registration information and other details. The conference will be held in person, with a virtual option available. Those who register for the conference will receive links to view the general session on May 9 and keynote address, award presentations, and several construction-themed workshops on May 10.

Walk-ins are welcome during the conference.

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