Report to the Congress on the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion
- Inclusion of Minority-Owned and Women-Owned Businesses
- Financial Literacy Activities
- Diversity Policies and Practices of Regulated Entities
Inclusion of Minority-Owned and Women-Owned Businesses
The Procurement Section in the Board's Division of Financial Management continues to demonstrate a strong and positive commitment to the inclusion of minority-owned and women-owned businesses in the Board's acquisition process. A comprehensive program strategy has been implemented by setting forth specific actions to assist the Board in fostering relationships with these types of businesses. This strategy contains objectives and activities with detailed steps that are aligned with the provisions of section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Act to help position the Board to cultivate minority-owned and women-owned businesses. Through networking with minority-owned and women-owned firms, the Procurement Section has made significant progress in fostering success for minority-owned and women-owned businesses looking to do business with the Board.
The Board is committed to executing a dynamic and effective outreach program to minority-owned and women-owned businesses. As a part of Procurement's Supplier Diversity Plan, the Procurement staff participated in numerous external outreach programs and activities. The Board designed and implemented an outreach plan primarily focused on three strategies: (1) forging partnerships with the local, regional, and national minority-owned and women-owned business communities; (2) creating or having access to a database of minority-owned and women-owned firms that can offer the Board quality goods and services; and (3) reviewing minority-owned and women-owned firms offering goods and services aligned with the Board's expected needs. As will be discussed, the Board has made significant progress in implementing each of the three strategies outlined above.
Providing Technical Assistance
In April 2012, ODI and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond's Office of Minority and Women Inclusion sponsored an Empower Forum. The goal of the forum was to provide capacity-building resources for minority-owned and women-owned businesses. Featured sessions included "How to do business with the Federal Reserve System and other Government agencies," "Sustaining minority-owned and women-owned businesses during challenging economic times," "Building successful and beneficial relationships to grow business," "Challenges of accessing capital," and "Top characteristics of emerging businesses."
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke provided opening remarks, and presentations were given by the following partnering organizations: U.S. Department of the Treasury, Minority Business Development Agency, Small Business Investor Alliance, Interise, Women's Business Enterprise National Council, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce. Representatives from the Board and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond participated in and led various panel discussions and workshops.
Fifty percent of the total participants at the forum were minority-owned businesses of which 50 percent were African American, 36 percent were Asian American, and eight percent were Hispanic American; 35 percent of the total participants were women-owned businesses. The largest number of participants represented companies that focus on business services and information technology. Other sectors represented were: law firms, management, consulting, and the service industry.
Further, the Supplier Diversity Specialist, hired by the Board in 2011, has continued to work with suppliers to provide technical assistance in order to increase the participation and identification of diverse suppliers in the Board's acquisition process. A major initiative in 2012 was the implementation of an external vendor management system. This web-based application allows vendors to register their companies' information with the Board to become potential suppliers.
The Board is very proud that its Procurement Section was named 2012 Minority Business Advocate of the Year by the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center of Washington, D.C. Through the Board's Supplier Diversity Program, the Procurement Section worked closely with the MBDA to raise awareness among minority-owned firms of contracting opportunities at the Board, and to provide technical assistance regarding the Board's acquisition process.
The Board has made a number of internal program enhancements. The Procurement Section now requires that for all procurements greater than or equal to $50,000, staff members are to make concerted efforts to include minority-owned and women-owned companies in the solicitation process by reviewing the solicitations and adding to the list of potential vendors qualified companies identified through the Procurement vendor management system or through other means. The Board is also making efforts to review U.S. General Services Administration and Federal Supply Schedule purchases to ensure that, where possible, minority-owned and women-owned companies are included in contracting opportunities. In 2013, the Board also plans to solicit information from its telephone and utility company contractors regarding their second-tier sourcing with minority-owned and women-owned companies in an effort to better track such subcontracts.
In 2012, the Procurement Section made substantial progress in its supplier diversity initiatives, which are designed to foster the fair inclusion and utilization of minority-owned and women-owned businesses in the Board's acquisition process.
The Board incorporated supplier diversity language in contracts, including a statement requiring contractors to confirm their commitment to equal opportunity in employment and contracting, and to the fair inclusion of minorities and women in their workforce.
As mentioned earlier, the Board implemented a web-based application allowing vendors to register their companies' information with the Board to become potential suppliers. Approximately 900 companies have registered with the Board using the web-based application. This information is available to internal purchasers of goods and services (such as the Procurement Section) to use as a tool to identify registered minority-owned and women-owned companies for solicitations. The site also allows internal users to export stored data in a way that allows Procurement and other Board users to measure and track the progress made to include minority-owned and women-owned companies in the solicitation process. Ultimately, this system will also be used to communicate information to potential suppliers regarding goods and services projected in the Board's forecast of contract opportunities and networking/outreach opportunities.
The Board held its annual Vendor Outreach Fair in May 2012. Vendors were able to conduct one-on-one meetings to share their capabilities with representatives from several Board functional areas, including Human Resources, Benefits, Employee Relations, Staffing, Information Technology, Facilities, Communications, Staff Development, Organizational Development and Learning, Space Planning, and Automation Programs Applications. Representatives from the Small Business Administration and from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond were also in attendance to meet with vendors. Approximately 116 of the roughly 200 firms that attended the event were minority-owned and/or women-owned firms.
Further, the Board designed capacity-development workshops on "How to do Business with the Federal Reserve Board," and conducted these workshops at the 2012 Vendor Outreach Fair and at other outreach events. These capacity workshops are designed to assist minority-owned and women-owned firms with overcoming obstacles that inhibit them from successfully competing in the Board's acquisition process.
The Board also obtained memberships in national and local organizations which serve as a method to connect directly with qualified minority-owned and women-owned companies. Memberships in these types of organizations will provide direct access to diverse suppliers that demonstrate the ability to provide high-quality goods and services.
The Board significantly strengthened its relationships in the business community by forging key external relationships through collaboration. Relationships with the following key external organizations were either established or enhanced, through organization memberships and/or participation in conferences and outreach events: the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce, Women Impacting Public Policy, the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce, the Minority Business Development Agency, the National Minority Supplier Development Council, the MD/DC Minority Supplier Development Council, the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council, the Women Business Enterprise National Council, the National Association of Small Disadvantaged Businesses, the Small Business Administration, the National 8(a) Association, and the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. The Board continues to work to identify additional opportunities for outreach and networking events with minority-owned and women-owned companies, locally and nationally.
Contracts with Minority-Owned and Women-Owned Businesses
In reviewing the 2012 contract awards, the Board identified a critical need to implement a systematic process to track, monitor, and forecast the progress of contracts from inception to completion, including the contract option years. To address this need, Procurement staff is working with technical support staff to discuss requirements for an automated system that will track contracts.
The Board continues to maintain indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contracts for information technology consulting services with several minority-owned and women-owned firms, through which the Board can order consulting services. Out of 15 total IDIQ contracts for IT consulting services, eight are with minority-owned or women-owned companies, and the Board will continue to place task orders with these firms on an ongoing basis. In an effort to further the Board's contracting activity with minority-owned and women-owned construction firms, the Board conducted a competitive solicitation, offer, and award process that resulted in the award of several Basic Ordering Agreement construction contracts to minority-owned firms. The Board plans to issue task orders for construction projects to these firms during 2013 and beyond.
During 2012, the Board's contracts for goods and services totaled $141,168,580. Of that amount, a total of $13,556,629, or 9.6 percent, was awarded to minority-owned or women-owned businesses. Contracting with minority-owned businesses decreased in 2012 compared to 2011, due in part to a number of construction contracts that concluded in 2011. At the same time, however, contracts issued to women-owned businesses increased significantly, from 3.4 percent of contract expenditures in 2011 to 8.4 percent in 2012, and contracts with minority women-owned businesses also expanded.
|2012 1||2011 2|
|Minority-owned businesses 3||$3,726,415||2.6||$9,028,526||7.2|
|Minority women-owned businesses||$1,685,031||1.2||$2,148,583||1.7|
1. Total contracts awarded in 2012 were $141,168,580. Return to table
2. Total contracts awarded in 2011 were $125,070,569. Return to table
3. Does not include contracts with minority women-owned businesses. Return to table
Much of the Board's procurement activity involves acquisition of economic data, generally purchased from large companies. ODI and Procurement offices have met with minority-owned and women-owned businesses that have indicated that they can provide these services, and expect to host a meeting between the Board's research divisions and these prospective vendors. The meeting agenda will focus on the Board's requirements for economic data, and will provide an opportunity for vendors to discuss their capabilities.
The Procurement section continues to actively solicit and review minority-owned and women-owned vendors to participate in the Board's contracting activities. Procurement collaborates with advocacy groups representing minority-owned and women-owned firms to better understand the challenges of these businesses and provide assistance to help them navigate the Board's acquisition process.
The Board will continue to improve its acquisition process to enhance the ability of minority-owned and women-owned firms to successfully compete. Among its strategies are comprehensive training programs for all Board employees, supplier diversity performance plans for procurement staff, targeted outreach programs, revised procurement policies, and the adoption of online tools and resources. The Board is currently finalizing a draft Supplier Diversity Policy which will assist the Board in implementing policies that will increase the number of contracts awarded to minority-owned and women-owned businesses.
To maximize the impact on minority-owned and women-owned firms, the Board will focus on increasing the participation of small business enterprises in its acquisition process. To that end, the Board will post on Procurement's external webpage a forecast of upcoming solicitations to inform firms of contracting opportunities. The Board will continue to collaborate with other Federal banking agencies, the OSDBU, and the Federal Reserve System Supplier Diversity Work Group to share successful "best practices" and to integrate those practices into the Board's business processes and systems to capture relevant data and monitor improvements in the inclusion of minority-owned and women-owned firms. The Board will provide resources to its end users who participate in the Board purchase card program to allow them to purchase from minority-owned and women-owned companies to the maximum extent practicable.
In addition, the Board plans to host networking meetings for vendors in specific markets such as economic research/data and legal services in order to expand opportunities for the Board to contract with minority-owned and women-owned firms in these industries. In preparation for a major construction project anticipated to take place in the next few years, the Board plans to host networking meetings where large general construction firms that might be included as prime contractors for the construction project could meet with minority-owned and women-owned construction firms that could serve as subcontractors on the project. The Board also plans to solicit information from its primary contractors regarding their second-tier sourcing with minority-owned and women-owned companies in an effort to better track such subcontracts.
Finally, the Board will continue to nurture and foster relationships with small minority-owned and women-owned firms to broaden its access to quality products and services.