Although we've been less visible...we've been working!
A few months ago, the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA) board of directors recognized we needed more clarity on our strategy. We engaged The DoCanto Group to take us through a strategic planning process to determine how best to achieve our mission and goals to improve the economic well-being of the Black community in Massachusetts.
Although this planning process made us less visible over the past few months, it provided us with the clarity we needed to focus on specific strategic initiatives. Here is a summary of our strategic focus:
Supplier Diversity Program
BECMA believes it is important to advocate for change in public policy to address economic inequality. The Commonwealth has an opportunity to lead the country on this issue. We have the best universities in the world, an educated workforce, a wealth of economic development and a politically engaged community, unfortunately juxtaposed with the highest levels of economic inequality in the country. We can do better.
BECMA recommends an economic bill that has inclusionary language to insure Black and Hispanic businesses equitably participate in every state issued contract. This bill is to promote “equity of opportunity in contracting; and, to that end, [to] encourage full participation of Black and Hispanic owned businesses in all areas of public and private procurement.” All procurement contracts greater than $100,000 should require a qualified Supplier Diversity Program plan with measurable commitments to utilize certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) contractors, suppliers or vendors.
We encouraged the adoption of the Massport Omni Hotel Minority Business Requirements by MassDot and other state agencies and authorities, state colleges and universities and community development corporations (CDCs) for all land, construction and service procurements. In particular, we encourage the application of minority business enterprise (MBE) requirements for the development of the forty (40) acres to be developed by the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA). BECMA also recommends the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (MCCC) adopt language that insures that all licenses include Black equity participation as well as an SDP plan.
As part of the Supplier Diversity Program, BECMA recommends the Commonwealth provide dedicated funding to support technical assistance for MBEs to accelerate their capacity for growth.
The State plays a major role in attracting new companies to the Commonwealth that bring significant opportunities such as General Electric and Amazon. BECMA recommends that a condition of any "economic incentives" is that companies prepare and adopt a Supplier Diversity Plan and an MBE design and construction plan. An MBE procurement plan should be a condition for any economic incentives.
BECMA recommends the Commonwealth implement a plan to diversify trade unions, including sanctions of unions that fail to implement a diverse building and union trade workforce in five years. The trade industry provides exceptional opportunities for training, skill development, good paying jobs and entrepreneurship. By diversifying trade unions, we can create jobs and address economic inequality.
In addition, BECMA recommends that companies of significant size and impact that receive “economic incentives” to re-locate to or expand in the Commonwealth should engage in training programs at our local community colleges.
Leadership and Representation
BECMA strongly believes the Black community needs “a seat at the table”. We recommend that all gubernatorial appointments to Boards and Commissions include persons of color with business backgrounds. BECMA also recommends the Black Advisory Commission conduct a self-assessment of Governor Baker’s Urban Agenda, which was launched in 2014. We strongly encourage the administration to deliver on its promises.
We have already begun our work on these strategic initiatives. We presented our recommendations to the Black Advisory Commission (BAC) on November 2nd and November 14th at their listening sessions. We will be advocating for these initiatives over the next 12 months and will regularly share our progress with you.
We look forward to making Massachusetts a more inclusive economy in 2018!