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The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Commonwealth) and BBC present answers to frequently asked questions regarding disparity studies.

Q. What is a Disparity Study?

A disparity study examines whether there are disparities, or differences, between: 

  • The percentage of dollars that minority-, woman-, disabled-, veteran-, and LGBT-owned businesses received on Commonwealth prime contracts and subcontracts during a particular time period (referred to as a utilization analysis); and
  • The percentage of dollars that those firms would be expected to receive based on their availability to perform on the agency’s prime contracts and subcontracts (referred to as an availability analysis).

In addition to utilization, availability, and disparity analyses, disparity studies examine other quantitative and qualitative information regarding:

  • Legal considerations surrounding implementations of the Commonwealth’s Small Diverse Business Program (SDB);
  • Conditions in the local marketplace for minority-, woman-, disabled-, veteran-, and LGBT-owned businesses;
  • Contracting practices and business assistance programs that the Commonwealth currently has in place; and
  • Potential program measures for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to consider implementing as part of the Commonwealth’s SDB program.

Q. What will the Commonwealth do with information from the disparity study?

Information collected as a part of the 2017 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Disparity Study will inform the Commonwealth’s implementation of their SDB program. In addition, the study will help the Commonwealth monitor minority-, women-, disabled, veteran-, and LGBT-owned business participation on their contracts.

Among other information, the disparity study will provide the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with an independent, objective review of minority-, woman-, disabled-, veteran-, and LGBT-owned business participation in its construction, professional services, goods, and other services prime contracts and subcontracts. That information will be valuable to the Department of General Service’s leadership and to external groups that may be monitoring the Commonwealth’s contracting practices. In addition, the study will provide insights about how each the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania might improve contracting opportunities for local small businesses, many of which are minority-, woman-, disabled-, veteran, and LGBT-owned.

Q. How can I participate in the disparity study process?

There are several ways in which you can participate in the 2017 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Disparity Study:

Share your experiences working in the local marketplace by using the “Contact Us” section of the webpage. To access the “Contact Us” section, click here.

Join us for a public meeting where you can learn more about the disparity study process, submit verbal testimony, and ask questions. To find out when the BBC study team will be conducting a public meeting near you, click here .

Respond to our requests to complete a survey, which will begin taking place in Fall 2017. If you are a business owner in Pennsylvania, you may be contacted as a part of the utilization or availability survey process. If you are contacted for a survey, please help the study team by responding to the request in a timely manner.

Call us if you have any unanswered questions about the study. For our contact information, click here.