November 20, 2018 - Mayor Tom Henry today announced two initiatives that have been enacted by the City of Fort Wayne that are designed to assist individuals with job opportunities and help small businesses increase their participation in City contracts.

The City has removed the question about whether an individual has been convicted of a felony from the City’s job application. This practice is known as ban the box. The City will still perform background checks, but through fair hiring practices, individuals will no longer have to declare a felony designation up front. This provides qualified individuals an appropriate opportunity and access to employment with the City. This change will not impact the safety of our community or the quality of candidates being considered by the City. Across the country, 33 states and over 150 cities and counties have adopted ban the box.

Fort Wayne is also encouraging more participation from emerging business enterprises by revising the emerging business enterprises executive order. Emerging businesses will now be allowed to earn revenue up to $10 million a year from the previous $5 million requirement. The changes will allow the emerging business enterprise program goal of 10 percent emerging business enterprise participation on construction contracts to also be satisfied with the use of disadvantaged business enterprises, minority business enterprises and women’s business enterprises that are certified firms by the State of Indiana. The benefits include assisting small businesses in their ability to serve as subcontractors on City projects, enhance a company’s opportunities to fill areas where subcontractors aren’t available and increase participation from emerging business enterprises.

The initiatives were recommendations from the Mayor’s Opportunity Advisory Council. The purpose of the Mayor’s Opportunity Advisory Council is to advise Mayor Henry in regard to current procurement and employment processes by providing best practice recommendations designed to continuously promote and strengthen the City’s diversity policies and procedures within the organization to effectively reflect and serve the community.

“I appreciate and value the work of the Opportunity Advisory Council. They’re committed to ensuring we do everything possible to enhance the quality of life for everyone in our City and work together to make a lasting and meaningful difference,” said Mayor Henry.

The 11 members of the Mayor’s Opportunity Advisory Council represent public, private, and low-income sectors and reflect various organizations and the ethnic composition of the city's population. Current members are:
Michael Barranda
Dr. Jesse Beasley
Cheri Becker
Regina Frison-Jones
Lewis King
Edmond O’Neal
Antonette Payne
Brad Stiles
Ted Storer
Miguel Trevino
Fernando Zapari

More information about the Mayor’s Opportunity Advisory Council is available at