Client Overview & Challenge Presented:

Developed to reduce travel time, simplify wayfinding, and promote economic vitality in the Uptown area of the city of Cincinnati, the MLK Interchange Project is approximately an $80 million new interchange at I-71 and Martin Luther King Drive.  

Using the I-71 & Martin Luther King Jr. Drive interchange as a catalyst, ODOT was looking to work with communities, businesses, and institutions of the Uptown region of Cincinnati to assist in preparing the region to fully capitalize on the current and future economic and employment opportunities.

  • Assessed the goals of the organization by employing a variety of assessment tools, such as interviewing and surveying, and through the facilitation of meetings with key players that included but not limited to, Kokosing, ODOT leadership, community and city leaders.
  • Developed a collaborative strategic plan that focused on strategies to increase relations with communities, business, and institution, increase project participation with minority-owned businesses, establish clear pathways to highway construction employment, and establish a construction workforce development program.
  • Supported the execution of the plan by working with the local leaders to accomplish goals and to recruit residents interested in pursuing a career in road construction.
  • Exceeded the DBE goal for the project –  DBE Goal 11%  / Attainment 11.5%
  • 10 DBE companies participated on the project
  • 3 of which are African American owned firms, 2 are Asian owned.
  • Estimate of $8.2M will be paid to DBE firms working on the MLK Interchange.


    • Recruited local residents for the road construction project
      • Total of Eighty Nine (89) people worked on job site
      • Seventeen (17) are Minority Males = 19 %
      • Three (3) are Female = 3%
      • Four (4) are from one of the six targeted zip codes of Uptown
      • Fifteen (15) or 16.85%, live in Cincinnati, Oh


  • Developed a pathway to employment guide for the highway construction industry for Uptown residents.
  • Established a Cincinnati Urban League workforce development program to assist individuals with financial sustainability and job-readiness training, public benefits/work supports that assist in accessing and obtaining public benefits, and specialized industry-specific roadway construction training.