CUNY Chancellor Matos Rodríguez
Announces Plan to Diversify Contracts

On July 31, 2019, Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez announced the University’s new strategic plan to engage and hire certified minority- and women-owned businesses (MWBEs) and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses (SDVOBs). The new strategic was reviewed in detail during the new Chancellor’s remarks at the CUNY and CUCF annual Conference on Contract Opportunities for MWBEs and SDVOBs.

The plan, which is detailed in the press release below includes expanding the University’s Mentor-Protégé Program, enhancing the informal purchasing threshold (which was expanded to $500,000 in this year’s NYS budget), expediting the internal procurement review, reducing the number of contract exclusions and unbundling of larger contracts. The announcement also included a “Plus-Three” initiative, which according to Chancellor Matos Rodríguez, “will require CUNY colleges to obtain a minimum of three responses from New York State-certified MWBE and SDVOB firms for all applicable procurement opportunities, ensuring the access of traditionally underrepresented firms to CUNY’s opportunities.”

The annual conference, which was attended by over 1,000 certified firms, prime contractors, owners, procurements leaders and key decision makers from CUNY and CUCF, John Jay College of Criminal Justice was held at the John Jay School of Criminal Justice.

Chancellor Matos Rodríguez took office as the eighth Chancellor of CUNY on May 1, 2019. As the first educator of color and the first Latino selected to serve in his position, he has brought new energy, perspective and a special focus to diversity, inclusion and accessibility.  With experience as a Cabinet secretary for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, as well serving as president of both a community college and baccalaureate college, Dr. Matos Rodríguez appears to have a well-rounded background to the University system, as well as a more global perspective of what fosters prepared and successful students and youth people.

To read Chancellor Matos Rodríguez’s full remarks, click here

To learn more about CUNY/CUCF’s annual conference, please visit:

Chancellor Matos Rodríguez Unveils Plan To Bolster Business Opportunities For Firms Owned By Women, Minorities And Service-Disabled Veterans

August 2, 2019

Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez announced the first phase of a strategic plan for increasing the City University of New York’s engagement with minority- and women-owned businesses (MWBEs) and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses (SDVOBs) at the CUNY and City University Construction Fund’s (CUCF) annual Conference on Contract Opportunities for companies owned by minorities, women and service-disabled veterans at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

“I enthusiastically support the Chancellor’s ambitious vision for strengthening our partnerships with minority, women-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses and reaffirming CUNY’s commitment to diversity,” said Board of Trustees Chairperson William C. Thompson Jr. “Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, CUNY and CUCF are working harder than ever to provide opportunities to MWBE and SDVOB vendors, and we are fully confident that Chancellor Matos Rodríguez will deliver on his goal of making CUNY’s MWBE and SDVOB program a model for other institutions of higher learning around the country.”

“When I was appointed Chancellor earlier this year, I began discussions with many members of the CUNY Board of Trustees and my senior team to create a concrete plan regarding the University’s MWBE and SDVOB efforts,” said Chancellor Matos Rodríguez. “We all agreed that as the country’s most diverse public higher education institution, CUNY needed to accelerate participation. These efforts will help inspire more people of color, women and service-disabled veterans to directly participate in our vibrant University community and help make CUNY an even more inclusive institution. We thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for his support and for helping us create a MWBE and SDVOB program at CUNY that will become a national model of excellence.”

The conference offered insight to prospective MWBE and SDVOB partners on how to do business with CUNY and to provide a forum for networking with CUNY decision-makers. The symposium drew 1,100 attendees, an increase over last year’s attendance of 900.

In his keynote address, Chancellor Matos Rodríguez laid out the following policies to bolster CUNY’s MWBE and SDVOB program at the conference’s Plenary Session. These will be implemented, effective immediately:

The “Plus-Three” initiative: This will require CUNY colleges to obtain a minimum of three responses from New York State-certified MWBE and SDVOB firms for all applicable procurement opportunities, ensuring the access of traditionally underrepresented firms to CUNY’s opportunities.

Expanding the Mentor-Protégé Program: CUNY plans to bolster its mentor-protégé program, where large businesses take MWBE and SDVOB firms under their wing and provide training and on-the-job learning to accelerate the firm’s development. The University has already seen positive results with the industrial supply company Grainger and Edge Electronics and is now working to enlist additional companies to expand this program.

Enhancing the informal purchasing threshold: Recent changes to New York State Law have created a new threshold of $500,000 for informal purchases when targeting New York State-certified MWBE and SDVOB firms. The new threshold begins in January 2020 so the firms will be receiving larger contracts. CUNY colleges will be encouraged and monitored on their utilization of the enhanced informal purchasing threshold.

Expediting the internal procurement review: Procurement reviews will be fast-tracked for informal procurements targeted to New York State-certified MWBEs and SDVOBs for purchases valued at or less than $250,000. Companies will begin their work, obtain orders and finish the project faster and, most importantly, get paid faster as a result.

Reducing the number of exclusions: CUNY plans to scale down the number of exclusions for various commodities and services, creating new opportunities for industries and areas that traditionally have not seen MWBE and SDVOB participation. Coupled with CUNY’s initiative to expedite the procurement process, this will open up new contract opportunities for MWBEs and SDVOBs.

Unbundling Contracts: The CUNY Office of Budget and Finance will be reviewing all single and sole source justifications to unbundle contracts whenever possible to drive additional MWBE and SDVOB participation and strengthen subcontracting goals for small businesses.

Student Opportunities: The University is creating a point of access for MWBE and SDVOB companies to facilitate the hiring of CUNY students, first as interns and then as full-time employees.

Accountability: Part of the University’s annual presidential reviews will consist of MWBE and SDVOB assessments to make sure the colleges are on track and meeting these targets.

Growing Real Estate Options: Real estate represents a new area of opportunity at CUCF for certified MWBEs, as both primes and subcontractors. As the University explores various real estate initiatives, CUNY will need appraisers, brokers, specialized financial, legal and real estate professional services. The CUCF is building 21st century campuses that incorporate state-of-the-art facility design and construction. Its capital construction program contributes hundreds of millions of dollars each year in new construction, facilities renovation and critical maintenance projects that support the University’s mission.


About CUNY

The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in 1847, CUNY counts 13 Nobel Prize and 24 MacArthur (“Genius”) grant winners among its alumni. CUNY students, alumni and faculty have garnered scores of other prestigious honors over the years in recognition of historic contributions to the advancement of the sciences, business, the arts and myriad other fields. The University comprises 25 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, CUNY Graduate Center, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, CUNY School of Law, CUNY School of Professional Studies and CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. The University serves more than 275,000 degree-seeking students. CUNY offers online baccalaureate and master’s degrees through the School of Professional Studies.

About CUCF

The City University Construction Fund (CUCF) is the core of CUNY’s capital construction program and is responsible for more than 300 buildings across 25 colleges and professional schools. CUCF is a public benefit corporation established by New York State to provide facilities for CUNY and to support its educational purposes. CUCF advances design, construction and development projects for new facilities, capital build-out, real estate brokerage and legal services, and for the ongoing renovation of existing facilities. CUCF’s MWBE and SDVOB contracting opportunities are or will be available at all tiers: prime contracting, subcontracting, sub-subcontracting, and suppliers in architectural design services, engineering services, construction management/build services, general contracting, trades contracting and a full range of real estate and property development services.