Construction Mentor Protégé Program

A busy construction site lit up with bright lights.

Construction Mentor Protege Program Logo

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has partnered with CPM Logistics to implement a Construction Mentor Protégé Program (CMPP) in each of the twelve Caltrans Districts. The mission of the CMPP is to assist the development of emerging construction companies so that they can compete successfully in Caltrans projects.

The CMPP supports CalSTA’s and Caltrans core four priorities of safety, equity, climate action and economic prosperity, while furthering Caltrans goals. The CMPP is also consistent with the Governor’s Executive Order No. S-11-06 to encourage new businesses, grow existing businesses, and promote small and emerging business contracting with the State of California.

Our Vision

Engaging emerging construction companies in opportunities to break barriers, enhance knowledge and grow relationships so that they can compete successfully in Caltrans Construction projects.


Participants of the program can be Mentors or Protégés. Protégés are small and emerging construction contractors that have demonstrated some ability to succeed as a construction firm in their local communities and are looking to grow and participate in Caltrans Public Works transportation improvement construction projects. Mentors are established and successful construction firms that have a proven track record of successfully bidding and performing Caltrans Public Works transportation improvement construction projects and have a willingness to help others succeed by sharing their knowledge and expertise.


The CMPP supports the participation of certified, or eligible for certification, Small Business (SB), Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), and Disabled Veterans Business Enterprise (DVBE) firms in California to apply as protégés. Participation in the program is voluntary, and protégés are selected through a screening and interview process from completed applications. A mentor or protégé firm must have an active contractor’s license issued by the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB).

If you have questions or would like more information about this program, please contact us at

Program Benefits

Small and Emerging Construction Contractors

Caltrans welcomes and encourages the participation of small and emerging construction contractors in the Caltrans projects bidding process. We also recognize the challenges and barriers preventing the full participation of these companies in this process. Key benefits in participating in the Caltrans CMPP include:

  • Access to education and guidance on all aspects of the public works construction contracts bidding process: back-office tasks and forms submission to estimating, bidding, work completion and other industry best practices.
  • Develop relationships within the construction community, including with primes and agencies, for support on future work and proposals.
  • Grow technical skills and infrastructure necessary to prosper in the public works arena.
  • Learn key Caltrans’ contract administration practices and contractual requirements. Mentoring sessions that address specific questions or concerns from our protégés.

Prime Contractors

The construction community has expressed a desire to engage with small and emerging construction contractors more effectively. The CMPP provides a structured and collaborative setting for primes and small businesses to connect and learn from each other. Key benefits include:

  • Expand their network of relationships in the small business community, particularly in specialized fields, to increase small contractor participation on their teams.
  • Enhance working relationships with the Caltrans team to increase transparency and engagement on public projects.
  • Develop an approach to communication and feedback from the small business community that encourages mutual understanding throughout their engagement on public projects.
  • Increasing the pool of ready and capable sub-contractor firms that as small and emerging construction contractors SB/DBE/DVBE.

The Program

Each CMPP session will run six to eight months and will include interactive workshops and one-on-one mentoring sessions.


Program workshops provide interactive forums for protégé participants that:

  1. Impart knowledge on the lifecycle of a Caltrans Public Works transportation improvement construction projects from pre-bidding to contract closeout,
  2. Impart knowledge towards achieving the goals and objectives of the Program, and/or
  3. Impart knowledge to address competency gaps in the protégés such as professional guidance and resources, relationship building, technical skills, Caltrans fluency and any other competency determined as necessary for the protégés to succeed.

Each workshop topic/presentation will be a collaboration between Mentor, Protégé, Caltrans Staff or a Subject Matter Expert. This approach provides supported facilitation and dialogue around the specific challenges and pain points for each participant.

One-on-one mentoring

Individual mentoring sessions provide an environment where Protégés can engage on details and questions that are specific to their individual circumstances. These sessions are excellent opportunities for developing deeper relationships and connections within the construction community. In this way, program facilitators and mentors can support the protégés in overcoming perceived barriers and limitations.

If you have questions or would like more information about this program, please contact us at


Mentor Protégé Program for Construction

View the Mentor-Protégé Program for Construction Video

2022 Construction Mentor Protégé Program Graduation

View the 2022 Construction Mentor-Protégé Program Graduation video


Caltrans Office of Civil Rights (OCR) 

Visit the OCR website for resources supporting small and emerging contractors. Visit OCR for resources


California Unified Certification Program (CAUCP) - Register here

Caltrans Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE Program) - Learn More

Small Business / Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (SB/DVBE Certification) - Get Certified

Work with Caltrans

Find up to date bid opportunities, project details and contractor resources - Get Started

Search Statewide and District resources for small and emerging businesses - Find a Resource