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Santa Clara County disparity study released
Published on 05/07/2024

Santa Clara County has recently released the final draft of a disparity it conducted into the experiences of diverse business enterprises (or DIV-BEs, comprising minority-, women-, LGBT-, and disabled-veteran-owned businesses) in seeking contract work with the County, with a particular eye to determining if there were any disparities between the availability of such businesses in the area and their utilization by the County. The process for commissioning and conducting the study was first begun in 2022.

The study examined the period of July 2016 through June 2021. While the study found overutilization of DIV-BEs in the field of "goods and related services" alone, it found substantial underutilization in the fields of "public works and construction," "professional services," and "non-professional services." Using a disparity index in which 100 signifies parity, and a value of 80 or less indicates substantial disparity (with values over 100 indicated over-utilization), the study found values of 47.1, 40.5, and 38, respectively, for utilization of DIV-BEs in those fields.

Remedies for the disparities that the study recommends the County consider include: starting a County Small Business Enterprise (SBE) program with aspirational participation goals attached to it; providing a comprehensive procurement forecast to the public; improving its data collection policies; and establishing relationships with existing advocacy organizations that work to support small and diverse businesses.

Find the County's page for the study at https://countyofsantaclaradisparitystudy.com/.

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