ALBANY, N.Y. (WENY) -- Minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBE) are being utilized more and more in the Empire State.

New York has a goal of using MWBEs for 30 percent of the state's contracting.

Governor Cuomo yesterday announced that for the 2018-2019 Fiscal Year, the percentage has already reached 29.13, the highest recorded rate in the state, which translates to more than $2.93 billion in state contracts awarded to MWBEs.

"In New York, we know that diversity is a strength, not a weakness -- and when we empower minority and women-owned businesses to compete for state contracts, we create a better New York for all," Governor Cuomo said. "Our nation-leading utilization rate reflects the unmatched pool of MWBEs in the Empire State and our concerted efforts to create a more equal playing field for these companies.

As New York approaches the 30-percent goal, the state has identified industries with low rates of utilization and documented MWBE availability.

New York is then able to tailor outreach and services.