Shiane Daima Jacocks
On July 6, the California State Legislature passed Senate Bill 103, supported by the California Legislative Black Caucus, to increase procurement opportunities for minority-owned small business enterprises from the California Department of Transportation (DOT).
SB103 mandates the DOT to develop an outreach plan intended to increase procurement opportunities for small businesses owned by women, minorities, disabled veterans, the LGBT community, and other important, though often unrecognized, groups. The plan will be reviewed and audited by the Inspector General while the DOT actively reports on its diversity progress.
“Taxes on gas and transportation hit disadvantaged communities the hardest,” said Christopher Holden, Assemblymember (AD-41) and Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC). Holden is in the California Democratic Party and his district includes the northern San Gabriel Valley. He was first elected to the California State Assembly in 2012, and re-elected in 2014 and 2016.
Holden continued, “SB103 helps empower these communities by making sure minority-owned small businesses are included in contracting opportunities for transportation projects made available through these funds.”
According to the CLBC, SB103 will also create greater opportunities for marginalized groups in apprenticeship programs, pre-bid meetings, and trainings for new contractors. Through targeted outreach efforts, an opportunity like this—something that seemed impossible 20 years ago—recruitment and retention of diverse talent in the transportation industry is inevitable, especially for minorities, women, disadvantaged youth, and formerly incarcerated individuals.
“We are able to pass this legislation thanks to the leadership and hard work of Assemblymember Shirley Weber and Senator Steven Bradford,” said Holden.
The Voice/Black Voice News will continue to follow this legislation.