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Cuyahoga County Moves to Increase Contracting With Firms Owned by Women, Minorities

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Cuyahoga County officials have introduced several pieces of legislation intended to increase the number of county contracts going to women- and minority-owned firms, having found the 1.4 percent of contracts currently going to minority-owned businesses inadequate, according to Cleveland’s daily newspaper, the Plain Dealer. The story noted that minorities represent 42.9 percent of the county’s small business contractors.

The Plain Dealer said signing on to the Cleveland Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) – a step put on hold while a study of the county’s contracting practices was underway – is one of the policy steps that would increase opportunities for women- and minority-owned businesses. The CBA supports training and employment of local workers.

In addition to the legislative measures, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, who pledged to make the county’s contracting “more fair and inclusive,” announced that the county will appoint an “inclusion officer to monitor, track and enforce all the initiatives,” the Plain Dealer reported.

The legislation introduced to increase contracting with minority- and women-owned firms would:

  • Set goals for the county’s Small Business Enterprise program so such firms would be included in every request for bids, proposals and qualifications;
  • Reserve some work specifically for small businesses; and
  • Make bidding on county contracts more flexible for “companies with a diverse workforce and a demonstrated commitment to using minority- and women-owned businesses as subcontractors.”

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