With focus on diversity and inclusion, Pa. rolls out new contractor policies

    Gov. Tom Wolf (Flickr)

    In an effort to improve diversity and inclusion, changes are coming to the way Pennsylvania procures state contractors, the Wolf administration announced this week. 

    The three-fold changes to Wolf’s 2015 Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities in Commonwealth Procurement and in Pennsylvania’s Economy executive order are attempting to improve opportunities for minority, women, LGBTQ, veteran and disabled-owned businesses to compete for state government contracts, the administration said. 

    “We have made progress, but there is more work to do. We cannot allow some people to be shut out of a chance to get a state contract, Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement released by his office. “Our economy and our communities work best when everyone has a fair chance of success.”

    The new changes will: 

    • Require state agencies under the governor’s jurisdiction to have at least 15 percent of their contract spending go to eligible, state-certified small businesses through the Small Business Reserve Program, which helps certified small businesses compete for state contracts; 
    • Establish a goal of 4.6 percent of state contract spending to veteran-owned businesses through the Veteran Business Enterprise program; 
    • Replace existing proposal scoring methods with a goal-setting method for state contract spending with the intent to achieve 26.3 percent of state contract spending through small, diverse businesses.  

    Many of the goals set in the new policies were recommended by the 2018 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Disparity Study, which examined disparities in the state’s contracting system. 

    “These policy and program changes will allow us to increase opportunities for small diverse businesses in state contracts, which he says have historically been ‘uneven, inconsistent and unfair in providing opportunities’” for small, diverse businesses, state General Services Department Secretary Curt Topper said.

    Cassie Miller
    A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.