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Port of Seattle Releases Diversity in Contracting Annual Report

Posted on April 18, 2022

The Port of Seattle released its third annual Diversity in Contracting report on its program operations for 2021. The Port of Seattle established a 16 percent Women and Minority Owned Business Enterprise (WMBE) utilization goal for 2021 for its organization divisions and departments. Despite 2021’s economic challenges, the Port continued to make great strides surpassing 2020’s results in achieving Port-wide WMBE utilization goals for 2021.

“Despite the Covid 19 pandemic, the Port has continued to make strides towards reaching its five-year goal of tripling the number of WMBE businesses working with the Port. We are now only 10 firms away from reaching our goal of working with 354 WMBE firms by the year 2023,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner Sam Cho. “We are heartened by these results, which prove that we remain committed to sharing economic opportunities as we build and operate our Port facilities.”

On an annual basis, the Port tracks firms utilized and the percent of overall funding going to Women and/or Minority businesses. As the Port continues to increase WMBE utilization, staff is focused on eliminating specific disparities in utilization for certain ethnic groups and women.

The Port’s Diversity in Contracting efforts have been bolstered by state actions in a similar vein: In 2019, the State of Washington’s Department of Enterprise Services (DES) conducted a statewide disparity study. The findings of the study supported the conclusion that people of color and women do not enjoy equal access to all aspects of state contracting opportunities. There was compelling evidence that the state should remedy the disparities and discrimination happening within state public contracting.

The state is also implementing recommendations from the disparity study, including the development and implementation of an electronic data collection and monitoring system; examination of current best practices; outreach to state agencies, certified businesses, and diverse-owned businesses that are in industries with low minority utilization by the state; and increased technical assistance to businesses and agencies.


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