Following the results of a 2018 disparity study that found the City of Tacoma is under-utilizing many minority and women-owned businesses, the city is expanding its efforts to achieve equity in contracting and support of such businesses.

“It is incumbent upon the city to support the growth of small businesses, particularly minority and women-owned businesses who have been have been historically left out of city contracting opportunities,” stated Deputy Mayor Conor McCarthy. “Making sure that we make equitable investments in our minority and women-owned business contracting community as we build our city is key to lifting up our entire community and building our workforce.”

The first phase of the city’s efforts, taking place now through December 2019, includes foundational improvements like increased technical assistance, improved compliance tracking, an increase of its contractor and supplier pool, migration to state certification lists, and working more closely with labor organizations. This phase will also involve extensive communication and outreach.

The next phase, projected to take place from January 2020 to December 2020, will involve ongoing strategic planning with the city’s community partners and, ultimately, implementation of a range of programmatic improvements. From January 2021 to December 2023, the city anticipates analyzing its efforts and establishing baseline metrics for its programs, while also preparing for a new disparity study.