The goal of the plan was to bolster minority businesses while attempting to ease the widespread city unemployment. It is seen as the most ambitious plan of it’s kind in the city’s history.
But many have criticized it as a bust, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Even though they are not making their statements public, the FBI has been investigating the failure to observe standards in the minority business program for the past two years. As per the Democrat and Chronicle, the probe remains active in order to hopefully prevent some of the drawbacks that happened in Phase 1 of the plan.
Phase 1’s objective was to have minority workers work 20% of all hours needed to complete the plan, with women working 6.9%. Contractors were also told to obtain at least 15% of their needed goods from minority-owned firms, and five percent from women-owned businesses.
The goal was also to train urban minorities in different trades that could lead to employment. But at the end, many could not find jobs.
In addition, Rochester’s vast diversity program goal was to provide state-of-the-art facilities, great school environments, and good quality teachers and principles in order to ensure each child had the resources they need to succeed.
They believe that the need to this starts young and can impact a child’s future if not properly implemented, as 60% of at-risk children were less likely to go to college if they didn’t get a quality preschool education.
But, there was trouble. A controversial company hired to establish the program was accused of poor records keeping.
Mayor Lovely Warren condemned the program, citing its flaws. This opinion has been challenged by Bob Brown, a retired Laborers Union official.
Brown believes that there was a great misunderstanding in the community about the job training element, as it was aimed to train people for jobs but not necessarily provide one.
Brown tells the Democrat and Chronicle, “If you talk to Lovely Warren and the people in the city, the project was a failure. In fact, 25 percent of workers were city residents. I happen to think it was the greatest (minority business) program ever done in the city of Rochester.”
Phase 2 of the program is set to start within the next couple of months.