New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority has awarded the first contract to a company participating in its new federal small business mentoring program, created last year to foster small business participation in MTA contracting.

Under the contract, valued at $1.9 million, Urban Group Ltd., an MTA-certified disadvantaged business enterprise in Woodhaven, Queens, will build facilities in Grand Central Terminal that will be part of the East Side Access megaproject.

Urban Group workers will demolish an existing steel gantry crane and wall, install underground utilities and an underground concrete reinforced air duct, and build a concrete reinforced manhole, according to an authority spokesman.

The program is the first of its kind in the United States to receive federal approval. The program is designed to stimulate the growth and development of small businesses, including MTA-certified disadvantaged businesses enterprises.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has established an overall goal of 20% minority and women business enterprise, or MWBA, participation for state agencies. The MTA said it has exceeded that goal, having awarded 26% of its $590 million in state-funded contracts.

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