City to Hold Public Meeting Regarding Disparity Study
October 2, 2019
The City’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion, in partnership with Colette Holt & Associates (CHA), will hold a public meeting to reveal the results of the City’s first Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) disparity study on Thursday, October 3 at 5:00 p.m. at the Charles Martin Youth Center. The CHA team will explain their methodology and findings and answer questions from residents. Light refreshments will be provided. The public meeting was first announced in a South Bend Tribune Viewpoint on September 16.
The MWBE disparity study is the latest step by the Buttigieg administration to promote equity and economic inclusion. In 2013, the City’s Diversity Utilization Board hired a consultant to run a workshop to help local MWBEs apply for City contracts. In 2016, Mayor Buttigieg signed an executive order establishing a City-wide diversity and inclusion initiative, leading to the creation of the City’s first-ever Office of Diversity & Inclusion. More recently, the administration helped jumpstart the West Side Small Business Resource Center, strengthened local business organization partnerships with MWBEs, and secured $50,000 in technical assistance grant funding for inclusive procurement.
The study, which was initiated by Mayor Buttigieg and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, used a three-year window (2015-17) to construct a baseline rate from which to track the City of South Bend’s utilization of MWBEs for major contracts. Key takeaways from the study are that a) the City is legally able to construct a MWBE-conscious purchasing policy; b) the City’s marketplace, which contains all Indiana counties plus several counties in Michigan and Illinois, has a MWBE weighted availability of 14.91% across all industries; and c) the City’s current MWBE utilization rate is 11.97%. The October 3 meeting will kick off a series of steps already underway to close the 3% gap, including implementing software to track progress across City departments; approaching the Common Council with a series of proposed improvements to the existing MWBE ordinance; and building capacity to close MWBE opportunity gaps through CDFIs and other financial resources.
A copy of the disparity study is available at southbendin.gov/disparitystudy. Residents are encouraged to read the executive summary before attending the meeting and may submit questions in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Notecards will be available at the registration table for attendees to submit questions on-site. Cards will be collected prior to the start of the Q&A period. Questions unable to be answered in the scheduled timeframe will be catalogued and answered in a FAQ on the Diversity & Inclusion webpage.
Who: Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Diversity & Inclusion Officer Christina Brooks, Colette Holt & Associates
What: Disparity Study public meeting
When: Thursday, October 3 at 5:00 p.m.
Where: Charles Martin Youth Center, 802 Lincoln Way W
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