Student and Community Workforce Agreement

WMBE Business

Women, Minority, Indigenous and LGBTQIA+ Business

Seattle Public Schools has committed to building greater diversity in our business procurements. Emerging after some difficult years, SPS is a new start.

Construction Work is our First Focus

SPS has over $1 billion in construction funding due to the voter-approved Building Excellence V Capital Levy (BEX V). We want these dollars to return back into our diverse businesses.

Our Project List

We have a number of large projects that will soon be solicited (GC/CM) and/or bid, which are at or above $5 million in estimated construction dollars. We conduct seasonal bidding, so our most intensive bid season begins in January and runs through April. During those months, we bid most if not all of our work that will be awarded during 2021. Pay particular attention before those months and during subcontractor bidding that will follow.

The Current Data

A small sample of large projects suggests a range of WMBE from 0% for some projects to as much as 5% for one project. The calculated average is 1.9% WMBE utilization. We do not have a good proxy by looking at our neighboring public agencies, as the school construction trades are significantly different than traditional roadway and utility work. That said, the City of Seattle currently has 25% goals for facility construction work.

For 2021

We are launching significant steps for our largest projects ($5 million or more in construction value). In coming months, we may expand to include projects with lower estimated construction values.

  • The Inclusion Plan . We?ve learned from others and will launch a Construction Inclusion Plan. This plan will be applied to at least our largest construction projects especially but not only the Rainier Beach High School renovation.
  • Let’s track the dollars . We are adding B2G data portal, to learn how much money is currently going to WMBE firms and how much we improve.
  • Creating visibility . We and our Primes will attend events and provide more proactive materials about these opportunities.

What is a Diverse Business?

Seattle Public Schools recognizes WMBE firms as:

  • OMWBE state-certified and
  • Self-identified firms that are at least 51% owned by women and/or minorities
  • Self-identified firms with at least 51% Indigenous ownership

We intend to spend more time with our interested communities to determine if that is the right long-term definition for future work

What about LGBTQIA+ Ownership?

We recognize that LGBTQIA+ owners and firms that support such owners are important to our communities. The City of Seattle on-line business directory welcomes such firms to state their identification as part of the registration process. Without any far-reaching certification directory that is broadly populated to rely upon, we nevertheless welcome such firms to our bidding opportunities.

Get Recognized as a Diverse Business

City of Seattle

There are two ways to be recognized as a WMBE by the City. This includes all our diverse firms – Indigenous, minority, women owned and LGBTQOA+ owned firms.You may self-identify as a diverse firm by registering through the City’s Online Business Directory.

State of Washington

You may pursue state certification through the Washington State Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprises (OMWBE).

OMWBE certifies small businesses owned and controlled by a minority, woman or a socially and economically disadvantaged (DBE) person for the state and federal level. Most City projects with federal funds require a DBE or state WMBE certification to count toward the corresponding DBE or WMBE requirements. If you are a business owner who fits these criteria, we encourage you to visit OMWBE’s site to learn about certification and its benefits.