The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education promotes and supports the involvement of small, disadvantaged, and diverse businesses in facilities projects contracts, at both the prime contract level and the subcontractor and supplier level.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Department of General Services (DGS) have recently made changes to their programs. DGS renamed their office leading this effort; it is now called the Bureau of Small Business Opportunities (BSBO), and they have changed their focus and strategies. The Small Business Initiative was started in July 2012. It sets aside certain small procurements for small businesses. Act 185 of 2012 was enacted, establishing a Veterans Business Enterprise and Service-Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise program. And lastly, just recently DGS changed their Disadvantaged Program (MBE/WBE) to a Small Diverse Program, incorporating small businesses which are of the minorities, women, veteran, and service-disabled veteran categories.
CSO maintains liaison with DGS and their BSBO, and will be working to learn more about and evaluate the DGS programs as they are fully implemented. CSO will then re-evaluate the System programs to determine how best to expand or revise them.
In the interim, the System will continue its current programs, which consist of the following:
§ For construction contracts, the System requires prime bidders to "proactively solicit" written quotes from MBE/WBE for portions of the work. Quotes from MBE/WBE compete directly against quotes from majority firms, and if their quote is the lowest received, subcontracts or supply orders are to be awarded to MBE/WBE for that work.
§ For design contracts and other Professional services contracts selected on technical merit, the System may include in the evaluation and selection the proposers' utilization of MBE/WBE.
During recent years, the System retained Clark Resources, a diversity consulting firm from Harrisburg, to work with the System to support MBE/WBE program efforts. Currently, efforts have been curtailed due to budgetary reasons.
Link to Annual MBE/WBE Participation Reports