Freqently Asked Questions - Contract Compliance1. Am I required to have an affirmative action program to bid on a State-funded contract?
No, a written affirmative action plan is not required in order to bid on a state contract.
2. Is an equal employment opportunity policy the same thing as an affirmative action program?
No. An Equal Employment Opportunity Policy Statement is a public commitment assuring that every job applicant and employee is provided the same opportunity in all terms and conditions of employment regardless of their race, color, religious creed, age, marital status, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, status as a veteran, status as a victim of domestic violence, intellectual disability, mental disability or physical disability including, but not limited to blindness, unless it is shown that such disability prevents performance of the work involved.
3. What is an affirmative action plan?
An affirmative action program is a written work plan that contains information about the employment procedures a company will use to ensure that the procedures do not result in illegal employment discrimination against protected class persons. An affirmative action plan must include the following:
- written equal opportunity policy statement;
- description of how policy statement information is disseminated;
- description of how recruitment for employment openings and promotional opportunities are made known to the widest pool of potential applicants;
- description of the hiring, training and promotional practices of the company;
- an analysis of current company workforce statistics by race and gender compared with the availability of workers by race and gender in the recruitment area from which such workers are reasonably drawn (and targeted minority and female hiring and promotional goals when the analysis indicates such are needed); and
- a description of how the company collects information and monitors the results achieved by the previously described activities.
See Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 4a-60, 4a-60a, 46a-68c, and 46a-68d and Regs., Conn. State Agencies Sec. 46a-68j-21 to 46a-68j-29.
4. Where can I obtain information about how to prepare an affirmative action program for my business?
Each month, the Contract Compliance Unit offers free, virtual trainings regarding how to prepare Affirmative Action Plans and Set-Aside Plans. Registration is available here.
5. I am a construction contractor with an affirmative action plan approved by the federal government (or a municipality). Will this program be acceptable on a state construction contract for which an affirmative action plan is required?
No. The affirmative action plan required for a State-funded construction project (“public works contract”) requires information specific to that project. While your existing affirmative action plan will already contain much of the required information, it will need to be amended to also include specific information about the employment and subcontracting opportunities that will occur on the pending State-funded construction project.
6. What does "good faith effort" mean?
“Good faith efforts” mean, but are not limited to, those reasonable initial efforts necessary to comply with statutory and regulatory requirements and additional or substituted efforts when it is determined that such initial efforts will not be sufficient to comply with such requirements. See Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 4a-60 and Regs, Conn. State Agencies Sec. 46a-68j-23 to 46a-68j-28. See also Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, Good Faith Efforts Guidance.
7. What is the Set-Aside Program for Small Contractors, Minority Business Enterprises, individuals with a disability and non-profit corporations (hereafter Small Contractors Set-Aside Program)?
The Supplier Diversity Program is a contract award preference program for State of Connecticut-based small contractors. The law restricts eligibility for small contractor (SBE) certification to a company that
- Has its principal place of business in Connecticut and is registered as a small business as determined by its primary NAICS code in the federal database maintained by the United States General Services Administration (SAM), as required to do business with the federal government; or
- Is a nonprofit corporation that (i) maintains its principal place of business in the state, (ii) had gross revenues not exceeding twenty million dollars in the most recently completed fiscal year prior to such application, and (iii) is independent.
To be registered as an M/W/DisBE,
- The company must meet the SBE criteria stated above;
- 51% of the company capital stock (if any) or assets must be owned by a person who
- Exercises operational authority over daily affairs of the business.
- Has the power to direct the management and policies and receive the beneficial interests of the business.
- Possesses managerial and technical competence and experience directly related to the principal business activities of the company.
- The eligible principle is a member of a “minority” as defined in Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 32-9n, or who is an individual with a disability.
Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 32-9n defines the term minority to include persons who are Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American, Women, and/or have origins in the Iberian Peninsula. You can obtain complete information about the Supplier Diversity Program from the Department of Administrative Services web site.
8. How do I become certified by the state as a small contractor or minority business enterprise?
You may apply to become certified with the Connecticut Department of Administrative Services’ Office of Supplier Diversity. The CHRO is not involved in the certification process.
9. I am a contractor who has just been awarded a state contract. The contract does not have any small contractor or minority business enterprise set aside requirements. Do I still have to try to utilize minority subcontractors for any subcontracting opportunities that become available on the project?
Yes. According to Connecticut’s contract compliance law, a state contractor is required to undertake "good faith efforts" to include subcontractors and material suppliers who are minority business enterprises on state public works contracts. To help identify prospective contractors or material suppliers, please refer to the DAS Supplier Diversity Program database. See Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 4a-60 and Regs., Conn. State Agencies Sec. 46a-68j-21 to 46a-68j-29.
10. I am an out of state minority business enterprise. Can I be certified by the State of Connecticut as a minority business enterprise?
No, you are not eligible to be certified by the State of Connecticut as an S/M/W/DisBE or participate in the State’s Supplier Diversity Program. Under this law, only a small contractor or minority business enterprise whose principal place of business is located in Connecticut can register with the state as a small contractor or minority business enterprise. You may, however, wish to contact the Connecticut Department of Transportation (“CTDOT”) to determine whether you are eligible to register with CTDOT as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (“DBE”) for the purpose of participating upon federally funded contracts as a DBE contractor. For further information, contact the CTDOT at (860) 594-2171. Additionally, if you are currently certified as a minority-owned business in your home state, obtain a copy of your certification (if not already in your files). A copy of this certification may be helpful to you during the bidding process with Connecticut awarding agencies, as these agencies are also required, under Connecticut’s contract compliance law, to undertake “good faith efforts” to include subcontractors and material suppliers who are minority business enterprises on their contracts. The contract compliance law does not require contractor residency. See Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 32-9e, 32-9n, and 4a-60 and Regs., Conn. State Agencies Sec. 46a-68j-21 to 46a-68j-29.
11. Are there programs or resources in the state to assist minority business enterprises?
Yes. Refer to the following websites:
12. Where can I obtain a listing of employment recruitment sources in the state?
Refer to the following website:
13. I am a contractor who has just been awarded a state construction project, containing small contractor and minority business enterprise set aside goals. Can I include the contract dollar amount for a subcontractor whose state certification has expired?
No. Only the contract amount for those material suppliers or subcontractors that are currently DAS-certified as S/W/W/DisBEs can be included to meet the project goals. A company whose state certification has expired should contact the Department of Administrative at the website noted in Question #8. See Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 4a-60g.
14. What are the minority and female employment goals for state construction projects and how are they established?
The CHRO has identified, for each Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in Connecticut, hiring goals for minority male and female trade workers. The minority male goals were established using the availability of workers based on the Connecticut Occupational Statistics for each MSA. The female hiring goal for any Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in Connecticut is 6.9%. This goal is the same as the national goal set by the federal government for federal projects. The U.S. Department of Labor set the goal based upon the available pool of qualified females in the trades or related trades nationally. A state contractor may choose to apply the above goals identified by CHRO for its construction project. Minority male hiring goals will change from project to project, depending on the available pool of qualified minority males in the trades and the particular MSA in which the on-site work of the project will be done. The female hiring goal will be 6.9% regardless of the MSA or the particular trades involved. In the alternative, a state contractor may choose to develop its own hiring goals for its construction project. For each trade category that will be needed to work on the project, the state contractor must establish separate hiring goals for minority male and female trade workers. These hiring goals must be based upon a reliable database for work force availability.
15. What is the difference between a hiring goal and a hiring quota?
A hiring goal is a numerical target for employment that a contractor must make a “good faith effort” to accomplish (also refer to Question # 5). Affirmative action plans normally include hiring goals to assure equal opportunity for all persons in the workforce of the contractor. A hiring quota is a specific number or percentage of a defined group of workers in a workforce that an employer is required to achieve. Hiring quotas are not included in the CHRO affirmative action plan requirements and are generally illegal.