The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) failed to meet its own goal to hire people who are socially and economically disadvantaged for construction projects that use federal funds.

MnDOT said Thursday it reached an 8.5 percent Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) contract rate for the federal fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. Its goal for the period was 11.7 percent.

The DBE program is a federal small business initiative aimed at helping firms owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged people, generally minorities and women. The Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Authority require MnDOT to set statewide goals over a three-year period for disadvantaged business participation in federally funded projects.

The goal for fiscal years 2016 through 2018 is also 11.7 percent.

The goals are based on a formula that includes the number of DBE firms certified by the state and an analysis of the geographic market area. There are 165 such firms certified by MnDOT.

The director of MnDOT’s Office of Civil Rights, Kim Collins, said in a statement that MnDOT will continue to work with “public and private stakeholders” to build the roster of DBE firms certified by the state.