SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.— As part of its efforts to bolster equal access to contract opportunities, the County of Santa Clara will launch an ambitious, comprehensive disparity study in February. The goal is to better understand the full landscape of Santa Clara County’s business community and identify ways to create a more inclusive and accessible contracting process with increased participation from underrepresented and diverse businesses – including potential vendors who face language and cultural barriers.
“Equity and inclusion are fundamental to our operations as a County administration, and that extends to partnerships with our local businesses to provide everything from construction and equipment to food and laundry service,” said Chief Operating Officer Miguel Márquez, J.D. “For small business owners who have had a tough time navigating our procurement process, we are hopeful this will open our door wider for more equitable business opportunities.”
The County’s Board of Supervisors recently approved an agreement with MGT Consulting to analyze the County’s use of vendors from underrepresented communities across its entire portfolio of contracted goods and services. A significant part of the study will incorporate the community’s voice and include outreach meetings to hear from local vendors, particularly minority-, women-, LGBTQ-, and disabled veteran-owned businesses.
“We know there are many small business owners out there who face a host of challenges to even get registered to work with the County. That’s why we must create a friendlier environment for all vendors,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Cindy Chavez. “This disparity study is a step in the right direction and I’m looking forward to improving our relationship with the many diverse businesses in our community.”
“One of the strengths of our County is the way we honor and celebrate our cultural diversity. That means meeting people where they are, including the way we work with our local businesses,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Susan Ellenberg. “This sort of initiative to improve our business partnerships is what makes us a strong, connected, and inclusive community.”
Consultants and County staff will work closely with the County’s new Office of Equity, Diversity and Belonging to ensure the study fully recognizes and accounts for systemic inequities that have historically marginalized certain communities.
“We want all the right people at the table, especially those who have been left out of these important conversations in the past. That’s the only way to make sure our entire vendor community has equal access and opportunities to work with the County,” said Gene Clark, the County of Santa Clara’s Chief Procurement Officer. “We recognize that small businesses face more challenges, and this data will show us exactly where and how we can better partner with these vendors. The first step to removing barriers is to identify them.”
The County of Santa Clara looks forward to working with MGT Consulting, the largest solutions provider of disparity studies. Their team has executed more than 230 studies across the country and will provide the County with an accurate and valid disparity study with input from the local community and stakeholders.
More details on the study and future community outreach meetings will be shared as they are developed. Meanwhile, those with questions about these efforts can email [email protected].
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ABOUT THE COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA
The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents in Santa Clara County, California, making it more populous than 14 states in the U.S. The County provides essential services to its residents, including public health protection, environmental stewardship, medical services through the County of Santa Clara Health System, child and adult protection services, homelessness prevention and solutions, roads, park services, libraries, emergency response to disasters, protection of minority communities and those under threat, access to a fair criminal justice system, and many other public benefits.
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Media Contact: María Leticia Gómez / Quan Vu, Office of Communications and Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119, [email protected]
Posted: January 27, 2022