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Source : Contractor News
January 11, 2024
Author : Alex Bustillos
The City of Cambridge has announced the completion of its comprehensive Disparity Study, an initiative to examine the city's procurement practices and policies for goods and services. Conducted by Griffin & Strong, a Minority Business Enterprise, the study spanned from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2021. It involved detailed data collection and analysis and extensive community engagement through interviews, public hearings, focus groups, and a survey distributed to over 8,000 businesses.
The Cambridge Disparity Study revealed significant underutilization of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) in the city’s procurement processes. It found that these businesses were not being utilized proportionally to their availability in the market. This discrepancy suggests a need for more inclusive and equitable procurement practices.
The findings are integral in guiding Cambridge’s efforts to ensure fair and equitable procurement processes. As part of its commitment to reducing barriers and increasing inclusivity, the city is actively working on enhancing supplier diversity. Initiatives include offering state certification training, facilitating vendor networking opportunities, and launching awareness campaigns.
“We strive to be known as an equitable and inclusive organization across the board,” explained Cambridge City Manager Yi-An Huang. “In order to achieve this, we recognized that we needed to conduct an in-depth introspection into our overall supplier diversity practices, identify opportunities for improvement, and determine how we can deepen our commitment to increasing our supplier diversity efforts, while engaging the community on this important work. City departments have already begun to enact several key reforms recommended in the Study.
This initiative reflects Cambridge’s broader commitment to social equity and economic inclusivity. By scrutinizing its procurement processes and implementing changes based on the Disparity Study’s findings, the city aims to create a more diverse and equitable business environment. The study’s completion marks a significant step towards understanding and addressing the disparities in public procurement and fostering a more inclusive economic ecosystem in Cambridge.