Denver Public Schools creates and promotes a culture of inclusiveness for business opportunities, economic growth, and sustainability for small, minority and women-owned business enterprises.
For over 20 years, the Office of Business Diversity (OBD) has helped guide DPS’ efforts to involve diverse businesses in our construction projects. The program is the only one of its kind for a Colorado school district, and has helped promote diversity in construction and related contracting for various bond-funded capital improvement projects.
Over the past several years, the DPS Board of Education and our team have taken significant steps to provide greater opportunity to diverse construction suppliers and teams through enhancing the OBD. A cross-disciplinary team of employees evaluates our current policies in collaboration with OBD processes to determine where we have room for improvements. In addition, we have completed a study with MGT of America to assess our utilization of minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) for the district.
We have made a series of significant changes in our contracting practices to make our process more accessible. We want to make sure that every qualified vendor who wants to do business with DPS, can do business with DPS.
- Have an open, or “rolling”, prequalification process
- Encourage Partnerships and Joint Ventures in our Project Notifications
- Coordinate focused events to connect decision makers with local businesses
- Formed partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration to allow better access to bonding for local small businesses
- Distribute the upcoming construction schedule at the annual Reverse Trade Fair conducted in October
- Host additional workshops to support companies through the package preparation and submittal process
Along with these changes to our process, we have also made important language and requirement enhancements to our RFP process to eliminate perceived participation barriers and make the process clear for all potential vendors:
- Extended work history window
- Project type requirement clarifications
- Extended timeline to demonstrate ability to meet bonding capacity
- Encouragement of joint ventures and partnerships
- Better define scope of projects in pre-proposal announcements