Today, Governor Lamont – in collaboration with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) and our team here at the Connecticut Department of Administrative Services (DAS) – announced that after a competitive bidding process, Griffin & Strong, P.C. has been awarded Contract #21PSX0035 to perform an independent disparity study relative to the State of Connecticut’s contracting practices and procedures.
A disparity study of this kind hasn’t been done in over 20 years and is long overdue. So what is this all about?
Ensuring equitable outcomes is paramount to the Lamont administration’s work whether it be in education, workforce training, economic development, or access to assistance or contracting. Equity in contracting is more important than ever as we work to recover from the pandemic, and we see an influx of projects with the passage of the federal bipartisan infrastructure package.
In order to make informed policy decisions about strengthening state contracting programs, the study will also examine whether there are any unintentional institutional, procedural or financial barriers to state contracting by SBE/MBEs.
For example, DAS’s Supplier Diversity Program, also known as the “Set-Aside Program,” assists Connecticut SBE/MBEs in identifying business development opportunities. DAS also supports state agencies in meeting their annual SBE/MBE Set-Aside goal of 25%. The disparity study will provide updated and relevant information to better inform this program and others like the Construction Prequalification Program.
The study is being done pursuant to Special Act No. 21-8, which was approved last year by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Lamont. Overall, the study will review state contracting practices and conduct a quantitative analysis to determine whether women and minority-owned businesses are underutilized in state contracting compared to the actual impact and role of small and minority businesses (SBE/MBEs) in Connecticut’s economy.
Initial meetings with Griffin & Strong will be held in the coming weeks, and a website with information about how S/MBEs and others can participate in the study will also be launched soon.
We look forward to sharing more information, and supporting our friends at CHRO in the coming weeks to get this study launched!