New Jersey releases disparity study on MWBE contracting

NJ News - Published Feb 01, 2024

The State of New Jersey has released a completed disparity study that was done on the experiences of minority- and woman-owned business enterprises (MWBE) in the realm of state contracting. The study had been commissioned in 2020 and covered the five-year period from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2020. The last disparity study was delivered in 2005.

The findings of the study showed statistically significant disparities for MBEs in in both prime contracts and subcontracts, and for WBEs in prime contracts. MBEs in the construction field had an availability rate of 27.97 percent of the construction prime contractors in New Jersey during the study period, but received only 3.69 percent of the construction prime contract dollars (for contracts valued from $65,000 to $5,710,000). WBEs accounted for 24.48 percent of the construction prime contractors but only received 8.73 percent of the same construction dollars.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion within the State's Department of the Treasury, which oversaw the study, is looking to use the conclusions of the study to inform new attempts to remediate these disparities. The disparity study mentions a number of recommendations made by business owners it directly surveyed, including better classes on understanding the nuts and bolts of the State's procurement process, appointing an SBE program liason, and a centralized bid notification system.

"I look forward to the work ahead as we identify responsive state action while launching initiatives to promote equitable contracting practices," said Governor Phil Murphy in a statement.

Read the press release from the Governor's office at https://www.nj.gov/treasury/news/2024/01232024.shtml.

Read the disparity study at https://www.nj.gov/treasury/pdf/New%20Jersey%20Study%20on%20Disparity%20in%20State%20Procurement%20January%202024.pdf.