Would Boost Small Businesses with Supplier Diversity Program Similar to Longstanding CPUC Effort
Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Director, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)
SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) introduced legislation today designed to boost California small businesses and bring jobs and opportunities to underserved communities. The measure, Assembly Bill 865, would set up a program to encourage recipients of California Energy Commission grants or loans to boost procurement from business enterprises owned by women, minorities, disabled veterans, and LGBT individuals.
Modeled on successful programs already covering the state’s utilities, telecommunications companies and insurers, the bill would require recipients of Energy Commission funding – which supports projects such as energy conservation and clean power – to report annually on their minority-, women-, LGBT- and disabled veteran-owned business procurement efforts. It would also require funding recipients to develop a verifiable plan for boosting such procurement.
“Entrepreneurship is key to the American dream, and diverse businesses deserve a fair shot at contracts with major corporations,” said Greenlining Institute Environmental Equity Director Vien Truong. “This bill encourages transparency and levels the playing field for businesses rooted in communities of color who otherwise might not get their foot in the door. The Energy Commission invests much of California’s funds on clean energy and energy efficiency. This is the logical next step in the effort to make sure California’s climate change policies bring real benefits to underserved communities.”
“AB 865 will work to create relationships between the energy industry and minority groups, women, LGBT and disabled veteran-owned business enterprises,” stated Assemblymember Alejo. “This will allow minority owned businesses to have increased opportunities for job growth and a fair chance to obtain contracts with major corporations. To ensure accountability, the bill also requires the establishment of a Diversity Task Force. This task force will review and make recommendations about diversity in the energy industry and promote those actively engaging in diversity issues.”
Truong noted that AB 865 builds upon the successes of the California Public Utilities Commission’s supplier diversity program, which has produced a steady increase in contracting by utility and telecommunications companies with businesses owned by women, minorities and disabled veterans, generating billions of dollars in contracts with diverse firms. To learn more about how California’s clean energy policies benefit underserved communities, visit UpLiftCA.org (English) and es.UpLiftCA.org (Spanish).
THE GREENLINING INSTITUTE
A Multi-Ethnic Public Policy, Research and Advocacy Institute