Volume 9 | October 2021
The Office of Diversity in Business Practices
Our Mission:
It is the policy of The Office of Diversity in Business Practices (ODPB) to provide all persons an equal and fair opportunity to participate in procurement and contracting opportunities sponsored by the District.
Our ultimate goal is to support sustainable growth and economic opportunities for small, women-owned, and minority businesses. School Board Policy 6.143
From the Director's Desk
Market Research and Certification Go Hand-in-Hand
Jeff Bezos shared some lessons in his final letter to shareholders before he wrapped up his tenure as Amazon CEO. Lesson one: “If you want to be successful in business (in life, actually), you have to create more than you consume. Any business that does not create value for those it touches, even if it appears successful on the surface, isn’t long for this world. It’s on the way out.” Lesson two: “To survive, you have to be different. One key factor that gives a business staying power is how well it differentiates itself from the competition.” Read More

Foundational Fallacies: The Racism of the 'Hard-to-Find' Qualified Black Candidate Trope

The foundation that both supports and perpetuates this set of harmful organizational practices is comprised of four primary fallacies.

Objectivity | The notion that there is a single, most-qualified candidate or employee is false. There is great variation in how two applicants with different experiences and skills would successfully perform the same role. Assigning a “most qualified” label is based on measures that are difficult to quantify and are nested in opinion. The rubrics used in hiring and promotion are highly subjective. This subjectivity can lead to false narratives that repeat stereotypes about applicant potential, assumptions often steeped in bias.

Meritocracy | Subjective criteria associated with likability still figures strongly into the hiring process, usually couched in the organizational language of “culture fit” and expressing a desire for candidates who are similar to the employer. Similarity plays a significant factor in this equation: more often than not, someone considered a “good culture fit” is someone “I’d want to grab a beer with,” someone “like me”.
No Experience: Here’s How to Help Small Businesses Grow
To leaders like Jacob Katz (SVP at Pirtle Construction) and Ann McNeil (President of MCO Construction), the old adage that “small businesses lack experience in certain trades” is not a sustainable attitude in an industry that severely lacks talent. This form of gatekeeping also decreases equity and inclusion in trades that already lack diversity. The Pirtle & MCO teams fully embrace the mission and purpose of The School District of Palm Beach County’s Office of Diversity in Business Practices’ (ODBP) mission to help small businesses grow. Read More
Who's Being Awarded PBCSD Contracts?
The Latest Contract Compliance Data Broken Down by Gender & Ethnicity
Goods & Services Update:
Congratulations to Gomez & Son Fence! They are the bid-awarded vendor for the Purchase of Installation and Repair of Chain Link Fences and Gates Services. As a dual-certified SBE & MWBE vendor with the School District of Palm Beach County, this contract has been renewed with Gomez & Son Fence due to the outstanding products and services they have provided to the School District of Palm Beach County for many years. When Caridad and her husband Heriberto Gomez opened the doors of their fencing company in 1983, they knew that a family that works hard and brings value to their customers would be a successful business for generations to come. Thriving and growing on the premise that customers matter, Gomez and Son Fence are proud to serve customers from Palm Beach County down to Key West. Some of the services they provide include custom fabrications, chain link fencing as well as temporary fencing. Read More about Gomez & Son Fence

Construction Update:
There are currently sixteen ongoing facility renewal projects, two substantially completed modernizations, and two new schools that have recently started.

In the coming months, nine new projects will be awarded for both Architecture and Construction Management. The seven projects total an estimated $89 Million, including five modernization projects. All of these projects will have SBE participation requirements, providing millions of dollars of opportunities to District-certified small businesses. 

Upcoming Events, Training, & Outreach
School District Announces New Chief Operating Officer
On September 23, 2021, the School Board announced Joseph Sanches as our Chief Operating Officer.  We are excited about Joe’s return to the School District.  Welcome back Joe, the Office of Diversity in Business Practices looks forward to working with you!
$10,000 Cash Grants Awarded to Three Small Hispanic Businesses in Palm Beach County

At the Chamber Connection's event on August 17th, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County (now part of the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce) awarded cash grants of $10,000 each to three small Hispanic businesses in partnership with Elevate Together, Office Depot, and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Read More
Suits for Seniors Founder Honored by Palm Beach County School District

A high school program dedicated to improving high school graduation rates across Palm Beach County is celebrating a special recognition from the school district.

Jervonte Edmonds, founder of Suits for Seniors, was recently named a Community Leader Gold Medalist Partner in Education by the Palm Beach County School District. Read More
Congratulations Pirtle Construction, Corporate Partner of the Year
At this year's Matchmaker Conference & Expo, Pirtle Construction was awarded Corporate Partner of the Year. The company was honored for meeting or exceeding their commitment to small, minority, and/or women-owned business as well as disadvantaged businesses . The award is given to firms that have demonstrated purchasing, technical, and/or managerial assistance, with a conscientious effort towards the sponsorship of small/minority/women-owned programs/disadvantaged programs.
Positive Vibes
Celebration National Construction Appreciation Week
The Office of Diversity in Business Practices collaborated with Pirtle and Moss Construction to honor construction workers and provide catering from District-certified food service companies. Teamwork continues to make the dream work! 
The Office of Diversity in Business Practices celebrated the beginning of National Construction Appreciation Week by buying breakfast for the men and women who oversee the District’s construction projects.  We honor those who work so hard in making our schools better for our students! Dicky Sykes, Director of the Office of Diversity in Business Practices, and David Dolan, Deputy Chief of Facilities Management, and all of their staff work closely together to ensure Small Business participation on District projects. 
Procore Training Exceeds Expectations
The Office of Diversity in Business Practices and Verdex Construction teamed up to host Procore Training for small, minority, and women-owned businesses. The feedback received from Procore training was immediate. One of the subcontractors in attendance, Al Hill Plumbing, shared their excitement... 

"I just could not go any longer without saying THANK YOU. Procore Training for small businesses far exceeded my wildest expectations. Ms. Tiffanie Artigas was fabulous!"
In the News
Walmart Pledges $1 Billion to Fund Free College, Career Training for Employees

Walmart has committed $1 billion over the next five years to career-driven training and development for its employees, including funding 100% of college tuition and books for its "Live Better U" education program.

Starting Aug. 16, the prior $1 a day fee Walmart charged for the program will be removed, giving approximately 1.5 million part-time and full-time Walmart and Sam’s Club employees the opportunity to earn a degree debt-free, the company said. Read More
FIU's Venture Miami Opportunity Program to Uplift Female Founders of Color

In 2020, companies with all-female founding teams received just 2.4% of the capital raised by U.S. startups in 2020, down from 3.4% the year before, according to Crunchbase, a platform that tracks tech investments. The share is even lower when you account for businesses led by female founders of color. Read More
Diversity and Financial Performance: A Winning Combination

Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Pays Off
Companies are increasingly paying attention to Diversity and Inclusion with good reason. DDI is a global leadership-consulting firm that helps organizations develop exceptional leaders. Their Diversity and Inclusion Report 2020 study revealed once again what diversity experts already know - that diversity and inclusion pays off and is good for business.  Organizations with above-average gender and racial/ethnic diversity had at least 30% women and 20% leaders from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds in leadership roles were eight times more likely to be in the top 10% of organizations for financial performance. This data demonstrates that not paying attention to diversity and inclusion can affect an organization’s bottom line for the worse. Read More
The State of Black-owned Small Businesses in America

According to a report by the House Committee on Small Business Committee, between February and April of 2020, Black business ownership dropped more than 40% - the largest drop across any group. The report also found that the pandemic exacerbated long-standing inequalities and hampered the ability to access recovery resources. Read More