DBE Program Regulations: Mentor Protege Programs

DOT has released Official FAQs on DBE Program Regulations. These questions and answers provide guidance and information for compliance with the provisions under 49 CFR part 26. Like all guidance material, these questions and answers are not, in themselves, legally binding or mandatory, and do not constitute regulations.

Does the department of transportation encourage recipients to establish mentor-protégé programs?

  • A well-run mentor-protégé program can be an important asset to a recipient’s efforts to ensure equal opportunities for DBEs.
  • Besides providing important experience and training to emerging companies, such a program may be an additional source of race-neutral DBE participation to the recipient.
  • For the first time in the history of the Department’s DBE regulations, Part 26 explicitly authorizes recipients to establish mentor-protégé programs as a part of their DBE programs.
  • Under this authority, recipients may cooperate with private-sector mentor-protégé plans that are consistent with the safeguards against fronts and frauds established in Part 26.