Sound Transit exceeds goals for disadvantaged business participation, workforce diversity

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Contracts awarded to disadvantaged and small business enterprises reached $51,811,835 in 2016

Sound Transit is continuing to exceed goals for contracting with disadvantaged business enterprises and small businesses (DBE/SBs) involving women and people of color in transit construction.

The agency's independent Diversity Oversight Committee recently reported that DBE participation on $1.7 billion of federally funded Sound Transit projects in 2016 exceeded three-year goals. The commitment of Sound Transit and its contracting partners to maximize the use of DBEs and other small businesses led to $51,811,835 in DBE construction contracts in 2016 – a 15.7 percent attainment compared to a goal of 12.4 percent.

"Sound Transit's diversity initiatives go beyond requirements," said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. "These programs and initiatives are putting people to work and improving lives. Sound Transit remains committed to doing all we can to help level the playing field and give disadvantaged business enterprises tools and resources to compete fairly for federally funding contracts."

"These results reflect and demonstrate the collaboration between Sound Transit and its partners to maximize the disadvantaged businesses on their projects as they are aligned with the overall values of the agency," said Small Business Development and Labor Compliance Director Leslie Jones.

Workforce diversity under Sound Transit's project labor agreements also exceeded goals, with total project hours for people of color at 27.2 percent compared to a goal of 21 percent. People of color worked 36.3 percent of the total apprenticeship hours. Women apprentices reached 17.3 percent participation out of all apprentice hours worked. While the total project hours worked by women fell short of the 12 percent goal, women made up 7.2 percent of the total workforce, compared to a national average of 2.6 percent.

Current opportunities for the agency include expanding the pool of certified DBEs and underutilized DBEs, and preparing for an expected tightening of the 2019-2020 labor market by training the next generation through apprenticeship opportunities.

Sound Transit established a Diversity Oversight Committee in 2006 to develop and execute an annual work plan that complied with the agency's policies and guiding principles for achieving contracting and employment opportunities for people of color and women. The committee is composed of citizens from King, Pierce and Snohomish counties and includes representatives from small businesses, trade and craft organizations, community organizations in impacted neighborhoods, and other interested parties. More information on the Diversity Oversight Committee, including a list of its members, is available at http://www.soundtransit.org/About-Sound-Transit/Accountability/Diversity-Oversight-Committee.