The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (“ODOT”) is conducting a statewide disparity study for its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program for federal-aid contracts to ensure that DBEs have equal access to contracting opportunities and that the current program remains narrowly tailored and administratively successful.
This study will involve compilation of evidence to meet ODOT’s responsibilities as a recipient of U.S. Department of Transportation to narrowly tailor its DBE program. The study will include statistical evidence of the ODOT’s utilization of DBEs, the availability of DBEs as a percentage of all firms in the market area and relevant industries, and an examination of any barriers to DBEs throughout the Oklahoma transportation economy as a whole.
The contract for this study has been awarded to Colette Holt & Associates (“CHA”), a nationally recognized expert team on disparity studies and D/M/WBE programs, in conjunction with local partner Resolute PR, LLC.
How can you be involved? The participation of stakeholders and business owners is critical to the study’s outcomes in two important ways.
First, the study team will contact businesses to confirm information on specific contracts and/or to receive additional contract information that is currently not available or accessible to ODOT. Since government agencies, such as ODOT, often only maintain contracting records related to contract compliance reporting, the consultant must rely on prime firms to supplement ODOT’s contract data. This information is critical to developing an accurate analysis of the utilization of DBEs on ODOT projects. With the support and assistance of business owners, the study will present a complete picture of ODOT’s contracting activities. Some firms will be contacted to provide such data. CHA will work with the firms to make the process as easy as possible.
Second, interested persons can be part of the process for anecdotal data collection by participating in a public meeting and focus groups of business owners to share experiences, insights and recommendations. It is very important that stakeholder groups such as industry organizations, community groups and chambers of commerce with an interest in ODOT’s DBE Programs and contracting activities, help to distribute information to their members, so that all firms can participate. The information generated from these sessions will be an important component of the analysis of whether the DBE programs remains narrowly tailored. To learn about sessions pertinent to your type of business, please email CHA at firstname.lastname@example.org.