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IDOT Launches Diversity Web Site to Promote Business and Employment Opportunities

Web Site Strengthens Communication to Public, Supports IDOT Commitment to Diversity and Transparency

SPRINGFIELD -The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) on Monday unveiled a new diversity Internet site to boost commu- nication of employment and contracting opportunities for prospective minority work- ers and minority-owned and women-owned firms in Illinois. “We designed this state-of-the-art Web site specifically to provide small businesses with immediate and direct access to IDOT con- struction and consultant-related information, and to better inform qualified candidates about employment and business opportuni- ties,” said Acting Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider. The launch of the Web site is an important improvement to help qualified firms and individuals better understand and access available contracting and employment opportunities.

Along with improved navigation and usability, the Web site offers each visitor access to current statistics and specifications on construction projects, hiring and recruit- ing efforts. It also includes an interactive events calendar, a picture slideshow, inform- ative video clips and a live Twitter feed to provide diversity-related news in real time. For more information on diversity news and updates, visit For a detailed video describing the Web site and its many features, visit IDOT's YouTube channel at

Math is money

Todd Shurn, Ph.D., Howard University Eric Benjamin, Ph.D., Montgomery College

2010 unemployment rate for persons who were enrolled in pre-calculus while in high school is less than 5%. Pre-calculus is pre- requisite to completing science, engineering and finance curriculums. There is a direct linkage between mathematical mastery and income, more math skill brings more income. Anyone can dramatically increase their earn- ing potential via mathematics. Unfortunately, too many blacks expend little energy preparing for lucrative mathematics and science careers. Many Blacks understand what should be done, the problem is being motivated to gain the mathematics proficien- cy to get it done. Money may be the answer. Many black students and parents say math- ematics, “isn't necessary" or "is too hard”. Certainly learning math is far easier than liv- ing on minimum wage, unemployed or street grinding. If money is a goal, mathematics expertise is the least risky path to the American dream - paid in full. Good news for

blacks who have avoided mathematics is “soft skills” are potential for mathematics success. Soft skills are behaviors and atti- tudes people develop to successfully adapt to everyday situations. Soft-skills are extreme- ly important for academic achievement. Research has identified 8 soft skills common among Blacks who graduate college. 1. Understand collegiate registration, tuition payment, and course drop dates. 2. Strong confidence they will earn at least a B in classes. 3. Realistic about their proficiency and open to accepting help in weak areas. 4. Demonstrated impulse control.

Willingness to forego social activities when necessary to study. 5. Having a faculty or staff mentor whom they interact regularly for support and assistance. 6. Leadership history, formal (i.e. team captain) or informal (i.e. taking responsibili- ty for younger sibling). 7. Involved in an extracurricular, com-

munity, and religious activities. 8. Real world work experience espe-

cially in a field they are interested. Soft skills for mathematics success are the same as for athletic success; determination, practice and guidance. Mathematics success doesn't require a student to be a "math wiz". Doing well in math requires a student to think they will do well in math and consis- tently solve math homework problems. Impulse control is important because a suc- cessful mathematics student can't relax until they can solve any potential examination problem.

It benefits any college student to complete at least pre-calculus regardless of major, clas- sification or age. If mathematics skill wasn't acquired in high school, America's communi- ty colleges are a good option to develop soft skills leading to pre-calculus completion. Community colleges offer a pathway to sci- ence and technology careers enabled by col- legiate mathematics. Community colleges make it possible for people with soft skills and minimal financial resources to develop the mathematical basis for science innovation - where financial prosperity resides. More math skill results in more money.

Advisory Boards: a strategy for success

ness: They do not have fiduciary responsibil- ity, have no company authority, and have no fixed size or composition.

The financial crisis of the last few years has called into question the status quo, and boards of directors -including Advisory Boards-- have had to rethink their approach to business success.

Cindy Burrell By Cindy Burrell During a recession, company CEOs make

difficult decisions to help increase revenues and promote growth. They ultimately have to ask the question: How do you grow in a recession - beyond capital investment and increased hiring? One answer is enlisting the expertise of an experienced Advisory Board to assist in developing revenue and inculcate growth in a tough economy. Advisory boards are the perfect solution for companies large and small that desire to grow to the next level. Advisory boards add value but are not legally liable for the busi-

2 Chicago Defender • • November 30-December 6, 2011

Both SEC-mandated disclosures in proxy statements and academic studies have demonstrated that ethnic, cultural, and gen- der diversity of board directors translates into value creation and improved perform- ance. To quote Warren Buffett, “the chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”

As a CEO, what do you need to do differ- ently in this recession to be successful? Company CEOs are searching for a differ- ent way of doing business that is both social- ly responsible and improves the bottom line. Diversity in Boardrooms, founded by Cindy Burrell in 2011, is a company that creates advisory boards where expertise matches company needs, and focuses on increasing the bottom line while seriously considering socially responsible solutions.

Based in Chicago, Diversity in Boardrooms is an executive board diversity search firm, assisting American corporate boards in recruiting and referring diverse

directors to add value and to ensure better representation of

American strengths

through diversity. In addition, the firm cre- ates strategic and inclusive advisory boards that can accelerate business growth, increase company profitability, and enhance social responsibility and recognition.

Successful use of an advisory board can lead to exponential company growth. Victoria Court Reporting, Inc. is a company that wanted to grow by 25% and raise their profile. Cindy Burrell created an Advisory Board of nine members, all successful in their fields, and who were required to have clients and relationships in the firm's target market but were not competitors. The Advisory Board agreement stated that all members would work to introduce potential leads. One of the Advisory Board members, within six months of joining the board, referred a new business client that increased the firm's total gross revenues by 10%. The company is on its way to 25% growth-in a down economy! As a company CEO-what are you doing differently to gain success? Diversity in Boardrooms works directly with CEOs to create strategic advisory boards that provide objective expertise, busi- ness acumen, and a network of new business contacts that can generate leads for the busi- ness. An Advisory Board is one strategy to gain success in these difficult times.

Special to Defender

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