Diversity and Strategic Development Overview



In 2011, the Illinois Tollway created the Department of Diversity and Strategic Development to increase access to economic opportunities for disadvantaged, minority- and women-owned enterprise (D/M/WBE) firms, as well as underemployed individuals.The Tollway remains focused on promoting, assisting and ensuring diverse participation in the Move Illinois Program and all aspects of its operations, including contracting, consulting and the supply of goods and services.

Department Objectives

The Department of Diversity and Strategic Development works to:

  • Increase access to contract opportunities for certified disadvantaged, minority- and women-owned business enterprise (D/M/WBE) firms, as well as veteran-owned and small businesses through diversity outreach efforts
  • Effectively communicate the Tollway's diversity programs and initiatives
  • Level the playing field for all businesses through growing competition
  • Help to diversify skilled and construction trades
  • Monitor Tollway contracts to maximize economic benefit and ensure prompt payment and diversity compliance

Strategic leadership

Diversity And Inclusion Committee

The Illinois Tollway Board of Directors established the Diversity and Inclusion Committee in 2015 to create a formal vehicle of communication for the Board to focus on diversity issues and initiatives, create access to sustainable jobs and look at new policies to foster increased opportunities for all sizes and type of businesses. The Committee is composed of members of the Tollway Board and is focused on increasing participation of African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, women, veterans and certified disadvantaged, minority- and women-owned business enterprise (D/M/WBE) firms in Tollway contracts.

View Committee presentations

View Committee meeting schedule

Earned Credit Program (ECP) Advisory Council

The Illinois Tollway created ECP, which includes prime contractors and subcontractors, union representatives and training partners. Their mission is to promote the ECP program, refer candidates for hiring by contractors, identify candidate training needs and foster union partnerships.

View List of ECP Advisory Council Members

Diversity Advisory Council (DAC)

In 2015, the Diversity Advisory Council was created to gain outside perspectives and assist the Tollway in building upon its established foundation of inclusion. The Council is composed of representatives from nearly 30 advocacy agencies, each with a long history of assisting small, diverse and veteran-owned businesses, as well as individuals seeking workforce assistance and training. The Council includes three subcommittees that allow members to focus on specific areas of interest or expertise:

  • Policy Subcommittee – reviews Tollway policies to recommend improvements or develop new policies that address disparities and eliminate barriers to participation
  • Programs Subcommittee – reviews Tollway diversity programs to recommend improvements and develop new initiatives
  • Workforce Subcommittee – examines existing workforce development initiatives including the Earned Credit Program to recommend improvements and develop new initiatives.

View the Diversity Advisory Council Member list

View the most recent DAC Meeting presentation

Diversity Advisory Council Meetings

Diversity Advisory Council
April 12, 2017 at 1:30 p.m.
Illinois Tollway
2700 Ogden Avenue, Downers Grove

Workforce Diversity Subcommittee
March 9, 2017 at 10 a.m.
1737 West 18th Street, Chicago

Policy Subcommittee
January 23, 2017 at 10 a.m.
Chicago Urban League
4510 Michigan Avenue, Chicago

Programs Subcommittee
February 14, 2017 at 1:30 p.m.
Illinois Tollway
2700 Ogden Avenue, Downers Grove


ECP Advisory Council Meeting

March 9, 2017 at 10 a.m.
1737 West 18th Street, Chicago



Disparity Study Report

 The Tollway released a Disparity Study in 2015 which examined its contracting practices and its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program. This study was undertaken as part of a continuing effort by the Tollway to ensure equal opportunities in all aspects of its Move Illinois capital program, including contracting and consulting.

Read the 2015 Disparity Study



Diversity Recommendations Report

The 2016 Diversity Recommendations Report includes the Diversity Advisory Council's opinions of the recommendations proposed in the 2015 Disparity Study, as well as provide additional ideas to increase diverse participation on Tollway contracting and workforce opportunities. This report assists the Tollway in its efforts to develop, expand and support best practices, programs and initiatives to provide added economic opportunities for a diverse array of businesses and workers.

Read the Diversity Recommendations Report

Diversity Performance Reports

2016 First Quarter

2016 Second Quarter

2016 Third Quarter





Outreach and Networking Events

The Tollway sponsors and participates in outreach and networking events throughout the year. Should your organization wish to include the Tollway in any of your events, or to learn more about activities, please contact the Department of Diversity and Strategic Development at (630) 241-6800.

2017 Outreach and Networking Event List

Event Photo Gallery

Upcoming Events

Making a Connection: Workforce Resources Working for You
Wednesday February 1, 2017 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
College of DuPage
425 Fawell Boulevard
Glen Ellyn , IL 60137

The Illinois Tollway is hosting a contractor’s breakfast to discuss enhancements to the ECP and other resources available to construction firms interested in participating in the Tollway’s workforce programs. Representatives from the Illinois Tollway, Earned Credit Program (ECP) Advisory Council, Diversity Advisory Council and others.

Vertical Construction Opportunity – Networking Event
Tuesday February 7, 2017 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
2300 Warrenville Road
Downers Grove, IL 60515

The Illinois Tollway is hosting a free event for construction firms interested in participating in the reconstruction of the Marengo (M-6) maintenance site. Network with prospective prime and sub-contractors, Illinois Tollway staff and technical assistance agencies to learn about potential teaming opportunities and available resources.