City of Arlington Adopts Formal Minority Woman Business Enterprise Policy, Establishes Office of Business Diversity
By Susan Schrock, Office of Communication
Posted on June 29, 2021, June 29, 2021

The City of Arlington is committed to promote and encourage greater equity for the Minority Woman Business Enterprise (MWBE) business community. Certified MWBE firms will have full and fair opportunities to bid on goods and services for the City, whether providing supplies for the animal shelter and recreation centers or building new streets and sidewalks in our neighborhoods.

The Arlington City Council recently adopted a Minority Woman Business Enterprise Program and established an Office of Business Diversity as part of the City’s efforts to increase participation with minority and woman-owned companies as suppliers, prime vendors and subcontractors. The City views these Council initiatives as steps to reduce race- and gender-based barriers that limit MWBE utilization on contracting and procurement opportunities.

The adoption of the policy and the creation of the Office of Business Diversity follow the City’s recent decision to increase the aspirational goal for local and minority participation in all City contracts from 25% to 30%. The increased aspirational goal is among several recommendations from the most recent Availability and Disparity Study, presented to City Council in September 2020 along with the creation of the Office and Business Diversity and the adoption of a formal MWBE policy were among recommendations in the Unity Council report to Council in February 2021.

“While the City met the 25 percent MWBE goal for FY 2020, the study showed a small group of specific MWBE firms were earning a large portion of these contracts and did not include a diverse pool of MWBE companies,” the City’s Procurement Manager Will Velasco said. “The City’s Formal MWBE Program will allow for participation from other MWBE companies and help them grow to pursue City projects as primes.”

Read more about the Office of Business Diversity, Six Month Project Forecast, community outreach events and other initiatives in the first edition of the MWBE Quarterly Report.

As part of these changes, the City of Arlington has established contract-specific goals designed to equitably and conscientiously include MWBEs in the City’s procurement process for goods, general services, professional and consulting services, construction, and architectural and engineering services where there are subcontracting opportunities. The program requires contractors to make good faith efforts to use MWBEs in certain contracting and procurement opportunities. Every locally funded contract will be evaluated by the Office of Business Diversity to determine the appropriate goals for MWBE participation, which will vary based on MWBE availability, the nature of the contract, the City’s past experiences with MWBE participation in similar contracts, price competitiveness, subcontracting opportunities, and other relevant factors.

Among its varied responsibilities, the Office of Business Diversity will also review bid proposals and evaluation criteria to remove any artificial barriers to potential M/WBE participation.

MWBE Quarterly ReportData in Action: MWBE Contracts

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