Metropolitan, Los Angeles Unified School District sign agreement that improves small business contracting opportunities

A dramatic increase in small businesses' opportunities is expected because of a groundbreaking agreement by officials of the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

April 22, 2003 -- A dramatic increase in small businesses' opportunities is expected because of a groundbreaking agreement signed on Monday afternoon by officials of the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Participating in the signing ceremony were Ronald R. Gastelum, Metropolitan president and chief executive officer, and James A. McConnell, chief facilities executive for the Facilities Services Division of Los Angeles Unified School District.

Signed on the eve of the 10th annual Greater Los Angeles Vendor Fair, the memorandum of understanding between the districts pledges commitments to expand business opportunities for small business vendors.

The agreement is unique because it is between public agencies and not a public/private partnership more typical for small business promotions.

The agreement, which is similar to a previous accord with the city of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority, is part of Metropolitan's Business Outreach Program.

Since August 2001, the program has helped Metropolitan increase its small business participation levels from 18 to 38 percent. Over the past two years, Metropolitan has awarded about 65 percent of all of its contracts to small businesses.

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