Diversity, Inclusion and Fairness.


Mr. Kirkland is the Pennsylvania Department of General Services
Deputy Secretary for Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities.

Diversity, Inclusion and Fairness. I’m certain we all are familiar with these three words and what they mean. In Pennsylvania’s state government system, however, they have become much more than words – they have become a way of life.

Since taking office, Governor Tom Wolf and the Wolf Administration have adopted diversity, inclusion and fairness as their guiding principles for economic development and state government operations.  Governor Wolf solidified his commitment to that philosophy when he signed Executive Order 2015-11 to improve the participation of small and small diverse businesses in state government contracting and the Commonwealth’s overall economy.  

As the recently released Small Diverse Business and Veteran Small Business Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2015-2016 reveals, the policies and programs put in place by the Wolf Administration are now taking hold and the decline in payments to small and small diverse businesses that has taken place since 2011 has been halted.

Thanks to the efforts and hard work of the department, in collaboration with the Governor’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities, Pennsylvania is now in a prime position to build upon the solid program and policy foundation that has been laid to create an increase in the percentage of contract spending with small and small diverse businesses.

That foundation includes:

  • A new Request for Proposal (RFP) scoring methodology, making it easier for vendors to understand the requirements, and enabling small businesses to participate;
  • The appointment of a new DGS Deputy Secretary for Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities
  • Formally recognizing LGBT-owned and Disabled-owned businesses as SDBs.
  • Expanding small and small diverse business participation in commercial leases.
  • Introducing the Small Diverse Business Capital Program through the PA Department of Community and Economic Development and administered through the PA Industrial Development Authority.

By no means are we done with the work at hand. While we’ve seen progress, it is not enough, there is plenty that needs to be done in terms of meeting the goals to create and expand the opportunities available to small and small diverse businesses in state contracting.

We’ve solicited the services of a consultant to conduct a disparity study which we expect to be underway by May of 2016. Within 15 months we expect to have the final report to aid us in assessing the existence, extent and effect of discrimination against small diverse businesses in Commonwealth contracting.

We’ve also realized that the Best Value or Request For Proposal (RFP) process presents us with the best opportunity to increase the amount of business conducted with small and small diverse businesses. In order to make this process the process of choice for agencies when going out to procure goods, services and contractors for construction projects, DGS is looking to reduce the time required to complete the RFP process by 1/3 to make it more efficient and useful to procuring agencies.

Other areas of focus include:

  • Developing an electronic data collection system;
  • Promoting diversity and inclusion in grants and non-procurement activities;
  • Achieving a 30% participation rate for SDBs by 2019;
  • Establishing annual goals for executive agencies; and
  • Revitalizing the Small Business Procurement initiative;

The steps I’ve mentioned are a few of many that will need to be taken to get us where we need to be. But we are on the right path and going in the right direction to ensure everyone has the same opportunity to achieve their goals and be successful, not just in state contracting, but Pennsylvania’s overall economy as well.

For more information on the Bureau of Diversity Inclusion and Small Businesses, visit us online.

Mr. Kirkland is the Pennsylvania Department of General Services
Deputy Secretary for Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities.



This entry was posted in Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *