City of Asheville Undertakes Disparity Study

North Carolina's City of Asheville is seeking to expand its opportunities for minority and women owned small businesses.

Source : Contractor News

December 1, 2023

Author : Alex Bustillos

Miller³ Consulting, Inc. (M³ Consulting) has been contracted by the City of Asheville's Community and Economic Development Department to carry out a thorough five-year parity study of its contractual awards in the areas of goods, construction, and professional and general services from July 1 2017 through June 30 2022. 

The goal is to evaluate the City's present Business Inclusion (previously Minority and Women Business Enterprise) program for effectiveness and recommend legally compliant changes and revisions if needed.

Local governments primarily use disparity studies to ascertain whether establishing, maintaining, or modifying programs to foster the full and equitable participation of women- and minority-owned businesses (M/WBE) in government contracting is legally justified. 

The disparity study began in October 2022 and started engaging with the respective community in spring 2023. 

Asheville City Council heard a presentation from Miller³ Consulting about the Disparity Study and voted to adopt a resolution accepting the report of Miller³'s disparity study and extending the race- and gender-conscious measures of the Asheville-Business Inclusion Policy, which were set to expire on November 1, 2023, for an additional five years.

According to the leaders, the disparity study demonstrates that there are still discrepancies in contracting minorities' and women-owned firms in the region.

Frank McGowan, Asheville's Community and Economic Development interim director, said, "What it means is we can consider race and gender-conscious measures and considerations of vendors in terms of how we perform outreach on contracts and purchasing." 

Based on the 2023 disparity study's recommendations, City Staff will create an implementation plan and update the Equity and Engagement Council Committee on it. 

Category : Local Business Enterprises

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