Praising Gov. Tom Wolf for his commitment to increasing the state’s contracting with small and diverse businesses, Pennsylvania Department of General Services Deputy Secretary for Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities Kerry L. Kirkland announced the department has awarded a $900,000 contract for the first statewide disparity study in support of that commitment.

“This is groundbreaking territory for the commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Kirkland said in a May 22 press announcement.

“Under the leadership of Gov. Tom Wolf, we can look forward to the completion of the disparity study and use it to further our efforts to reduce, and eventually eliminate, the barriers facing our small diverse businesses as it pertains to the state contracting process.”

BBC Research & Consulting (Browne, Bortz & Coddington) of Denver won the disparity study contract, which will compile a comprehensive list of small diverse businesses across the commonwealth, and compare them with actual utilization in state contracting in given geographical markets.

This, Kirkland said, will yield a comprehensive and legally supportable statewide disparity study that will serve as an empirical basis for determining the extent to which small diverse businesses face discrimination in the state contracting process. The commonwealth will then determine what race, gender, disabled, LGBT, and/or veteran-conscious measures should be used to remedy the issues raised in the study.

“We need to do a better job when it comes to delivering policies and programs that will enable our small diverse businesses to get a fair shot at doing business with the commonwealth,” he said.

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