CT Not Meeting Goals in Hiring Minority, Women Contractors

Wed September 24, 2003 - Northeast Edition

HARTFORD, CT (AP) A majority of state agencies are failing to meet their goals for providing state contracts to businesses owned by minorities and women, the Record-Journal of Meriden reported recently.

Under state law agencies are expected to set aside 6.25 percent of contracted work for minority and women-owned businesses.

Those businesses have received 5.8 percent of the more than $17.3 billion in state contracts awarded in the last 10 years, the newspaper reported.

In March, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) reported to the General Assembly that 43 of 81 state agencies did not meet their set-aside goals last year.

Meg Yetishefsky, who runs the minority set-aside program for the state Department of Administrative Services, said the number of women- and minority-owned companies certified for the set-aside program has increased 36 percent in the last five years.

“I think we are doing a good job,” she said.

Minority- and women-owned enterprises got 12.2 percent of all state construction contracts, but only 3 percent of supply and service contracts last year, the CHRO reported.

The CHRO found this disparity troubling because procurement contracts were approximately twice the value of construction contracts last year, more than $1.4 billion compared with nearly $746.8 million.

Two-thirds of all state contracts involve goods and services, but the CHRO said women- and minority-owned contractors only made one-third of their money last year from these more lucrative contracts.

The commission partly blamed a drop in service and supply contracts for the state government’s failure to meet last year’s minority set-aside goal.

Minority-owned enterprises got just under 1 percent of these contracts, down from 1.5 percent the year before. Women-owned businesses got 2.1 percent of the procurement contracts, down from 2.3 percent the previous year.