Council collaborates with state, local governments to study ethnic and gender disparities in procurement processes

Date: Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Metropolitan Council is among several government agencies participating in a study to assess whether there is a gap among firms owned by women and people of color in receiving government contracts.

Specifically, the study will evaluate the availability of firms owned by women and people of color, compared with the “utilization” of those firms, namely:

  • Who received procurements?

  • What was the dollar value of those procurements?

  • What specific things does the Council (and other agencies) spend money on?

The study will also examine the experiences businesses have working with government, any barriers they’ve encountered, and how those experiences compare with information and trends in the private sector.


Goals: inclusion and fairness

“This study will give the Council and partner agencies critical information to assure that our procurement processes are inclusive and fair,” said Wanda Kirkpatrick, director of the Council’s Office of Equal Opportunity. “We want businesses to have good experiences working on the Council’s behalf. This information will help us assure the Council is a valuable business partner, and that businesses seek out work with the Council.”

The Council and other agencies will provide information on programs and processes, and encourage participation in the study. Partners include the State of Minnesota, the Metropolitan Airports Commission, Minnesota State Colleges & Universities, the City of Minneapolis, the City of Saint Paul, and Hennepin County. More about the 2017 Minnesota Joint Disparity Study.

It’s been nearly 10 years since government agencies examined similar disparities. While improvements have been made, Kirkpatrick said, it is unlikely disparities have disappeared, and specific programs, such as the Metropolitan Council Underutilized Business program, are likely still needed to improve access to Council procurements.   More about doing business with the Council.


First of five public forums is Aug. 31

The study will be completed in early 2018. The first of five public forums is set for Aug. 31 at the Minneapolis Central Library. Two sessions will be held that day: one beginning at 3 p.m., and a second at 5:30 p.m.


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