Public Works Business Diversity Program

Our Public Works Business Diversity Program is working to remove barriers for Washington state small, minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses to participate in engineering, architectural, and public works contracts and subcontracts.

How we are making that happen

  • We require inclusion plans for construction projects over $1 million and architecture and engineering (A&E) agreements over $350,000. Inclusion plans are designed to help increase small, women-, minority-, and veteran-owned business participation in public works contracts. Contractors set their own goals. We support contractors and track their success in reaching those goals.
  • The 2021 Local Government Public Works Study, which the Legislature directed the Capital Projects Advisory Review Board (CPARB) to complete, found there were inconsistent contract thresholds across local agencies, no connection to construction cost escalations and barriers affecting the participation of minority- and women-owned businesses. On behalf of CPARB, DES contracted with the Municipal Resource Services Center to collect data and write the report. CPARB established a Small Works Committee to implement the recommendations in the study.
  • We are leading an effort to develop a training and certification program for diverse businesses called Washington EDGE (Encouraging Diversity, Growth, and Equity). Its goals are to prepare small, veteran-, minority- and women-owned businesses to bid on contract opportunities in Washington state. We are designing it to enhance the technical, administrative and managerial skills of those businesses in order to make a profit and build a reputation for efficiently managing construction projects.

How we are measuring our progress

  • We require all public works contractors to use our Diversity Tracking & Management System to help us collect data to measure the impact of our efforts. The data, which includes small and diverse business certifications and prompt payments, helps us identify what is working and where we should make adjustments.
  • The Legislature directed CPARB to publish a Business Equity Diverse Business Inclusion Report in June 2022. CPARB is drafting legislation to implement the recommendations from this report.

Contact us

Charles Wilson

Public Works Business Diversity Program Manager