Wolf Administration Seeks to Improve Diverse and Small Business Participation in State Contracting Opportunities, Overall Economy

Lancaster, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today signed an executive order solidifying his administration’s commitment to improving the participation of small and diverse businesses – minority-, women-, LGBT-, veteran- and disabled-owned business ­– in state government contracting and the commonwealth’s overall economy.

Executive Order 2015-11 (“Diversity, Inclusion, and Small Business Opportunities in State Contracting and Pennsylvania’s Economy”) directs a consistent and coordinated effort to ensure diversity and inclusion in all contracting opportunities for small and diverse businesses throughout agencies under the governor’s jurisdiction and promotes the creation of programs to better prepare those businesses to compete and succeed in Pennsylvania’s economy.

“The business community needs a constructive partner in government and this executive order sets us squarely in that position,” Governor Wolf said. “This executive order is built on the reality that leveling the playing field will make Pennsylvania better for all of us. This idea of fairness is important because our economy doesn’t work optimally if some people are shut out of the market’s opportunities.”

The executive order directs at least four specific actions:

  • Creates the Advisory Council on Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities;
  • Renames the Bureau of Small Business Opportunities to the Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities;
  • Directs the Advisory Council and Commonwealth agencies to consider policies and programs designed to increase the participation of small businesses and businesses owned or supported by minorities, women, veterans, disabled persons, and members of the Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender community; and
  • Recognizes that we need a more coordinated, transparent and sustained effort across state agencies and a specific focus on capacity building – growing small diverse business participation in the Pennsylvania economy, beyond just state contracting.

The Advisory Council on Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities council will advise the Governor’s office on state contracting and grant opportunities; job creation initiatives, financing and bonding programs, business assistance and professional development programs.  The council’s membership will include key agencies: the departments of General Services, Community & Economic Development, Transportation and Labor & Industry. Small-, minority- women-, LGBT-, veteran- and significantly disabled veteran-business owners, commonwealth agency staff and other key stakeholders will be on the council as well.

“This is an important step in the broader effort to make sure all Pennsylvanians feel they have a life filled with fair chances,” Governor Wolf said. “I’m trying to make our economy stronger in part by making it fairer – with stronger non-discrimination laws, a higher minimum wage, a more accessible voting process, and the long overdue implementation of full Medicaid expansion. Fairness is at the heart of the values all healthy democracies hold dear.”

The Governor announced the members of the council and that the first meeting would take place September 24 in Harrisburg.
Executive Order: 2015-11 Diversity, Inclusion, and Small Business Opportunities in State Contracting and Pennsylvania’s Economy (PDF)