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Partner Blog: DGS and Supplier Diversity

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DGS is the business manager for the state of California, providing procurement and business solutions for state agencies, local agencies, resource partners and external customers. Each year, the state purchases 8 to 10 billion dollars' worth of goods, information technology, construction projects and professional services. As the business manager for the state, DGS oversees much of this acquisition activity through its regulations, policies and programs.

Getting certified with DGS increases business opportunities

DGS encourages small businesses and businesses owned and operated by disabled veterans to register and become certified to do business with the state. The Small Business (SB) and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) certification programs provide these groups with bidding preference and contracting opportunities. State departments are required to contract 25 percent of their annual spending with certified SBs and 3 percent with certified DVBEs. Getting certified helps SBs and DVBEs compete for state contracts on a more level playing field with larger firms, promoting competition and supporting California's entrepreneur and veteran communities.

In January 2019, a new SB certification - Small Business for the Purpose of Public Works (SB-PW) - took effect for state public works contracts and projects, supplementing the existing SB certification. The new SB-PW certification expands opportunities to participate in public works projects as a certified small business to firms that are relatively small in the public works arena, but are larger than allowed by the SB certification limits. Under the new SB-PW certification, firms with average gross annual revenues of $15 million to $36 million, or with 100-200 employees, can receive certification as a Small Business for the purpose of public works contracts.

State certification also opens doors to doing business with cities, counties and organizations that have programs requiring them to award some percentage of their business, or give preference, to state-certified SBs and DVBEs. A list of the state's reciprocity partners can be found at https://www.dgs.ca.gov/PD-Reciprocity. For more information about doing business with the state and its certification programs, visit https://caleprocure.ca.gov.

DGS Outreach team champions SB and DVBE businesses

The DGS Outreach team serves the SB and DVBE communities by assisting businesses with certification and access to procurement opportunities through outreach and training. The Outreach team works with diverse groups of business organizations and attends outreach events, participates in interactive panels, exhibits at events, provides workshops on certification and doing business with the state, and provides one-on-one advice to assist suppliers with the state's procurement process. The mission of DGS' Outreach team is to help SBs and DVBEs thrive through expanded business opportunities in California.

To find upcoming Outreach events, visit https://www.dgs.ca.gov/PD/Events

To find additional resources on doing business with the state of California, visit https://www.dgs.ca.gov/PD/Resources/Page-Content/Procurement-Division-Resources-List-Folder/How-to-do-business-with-the-state-of-California  

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DGS Outreach employee spotlight

DGS Outreach Program Manager Danetta Jackson has worked to champion the SB/DVBE Outreach program for 10 years. She is proud of the growth of the program in that time thanks to executive leadership support within DGS, as well as the diverse talent of her team. She leads the Outreach program with a focus on educating small, disabled veteran and underrepresented businesses to ensure they understand and are able to navigate the state's procurement system. In addition, her office provides training to state departments on contracting best practices to assist them in meeting their contracting participation goals. Danetta is responsible for forging strategic collaborations with small business organizations and agencies at the private, local, state and federal levels.

For additional information about doing business with the state, contact the DGS Outreach Team at Advocate@dgs.ca.gov.

 

CPUC Releases California Advanced Services Fund Broadband Adoption Gap Analysis

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On June 18, 2019, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Communications Division staff released an analysis on gaps in those subscribing to high-speed broadband internet. The Adoption Gap Analysis was ordered in Decision (D.) 18-06-032 and identifies various demographic barriers to broadband adoption and provides information to support important program and grant decisions for the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) Broadband Adoption Account.  

The analysis looks at various potential factors and how they may affect adoption rates in California. Of all the factors analyzed, the analysis concludes that income is the most significant factor contributing to low adoption rates. See table below for the variables studied and their correlation to adoption rates.

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As a result, the analysis identifies the top ten communities with some of the lowest adoption rates and lowest incomes in California that will be prioritized for grant funding.

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In addition to these ten communities of focus, a map highlighting low income1 regions of California with low adoption that could be prioritized for grant funding was developed for the report. See map below.

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Lastly, the online California Interactive Broadband Map (http://www.broadbandmap.ca.gov/) was updated to add adoption rates and detailed demographic data at the census tract, block group or block level. These tools can be used by applicants interested in applying for grants in the CASF Adoption Account to develop proposals and will also be used by staff to inform where best to award grants. Better understanding these communities and their specific barriers will aid in determining where CASF Broadband Adoption funds are needed most and might have the greatest impact. 

The full analysis can be found here.

For more information about the CASF Broadband Adoption Account, please see https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/General.aspx?id=6442457502.

 

1 Adoption rates < 50%, and those census tracts with a median household income < $51,500.

Continuing to Press PG&E on Its Safety Culture

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By CPUC President Michael Picker

During the four-and-a-half years I've served as president of the CPUC, the Commission has done a lot of work aimed at getting Pacific Gas & Electric Co., the state's largest utility, to be as vigilant about safety as it often proclaims that it is.

In 2015, the Commission imposed the largest fine ever leveled against an American utility, $1.6 billion, for the San Bruno gas pipeline explosion five years earlier that killed eight people, injured dozens more and destroyed or damaged some 100 homes.

As part of a comprehensive PG&E safety culture investigation we began that same year, North Star Consulting Group was brought in to conduct a top-to-bottom safety assessment of the utility. North Star found that PG&E does show - sometimes unevenly - a commitment to safety at all levels of the company. But as I commented at the time, the utility's many safety initiatives "do not yet add up to a consistent, robust and accountable corporate-wide safety program." We also directed PG&E to adopt recommendations included for improved safety culture that were included in the North Star assessment.

Of particular concern to me was that after San Bruno's record-breaking total of $2.5 billion in penalties, no company directors were removed, and no senior executives were held accountable.  But we are continuing to press the issue, particularly since PG&E equipment has been deemed responsible for starting some of the most destructive wildfires in the state's history.

At the Commission's voting meeting last week in Sacramento, we approved a decision building on earlier efforts and some of the management changes that have occurred at PG&E since it sought bankruptcy protection related to wildfire liabilities.

PG&E does now have new board members and a new CEO.  It is imperative that the individuals serving in these positions understand that the Commission will be monitoring the utility closely in the coming months and years.

Our most recent action requires PG&E to submit information about the board members and their qualifications.  Bringing in new leaders with impressive resumes is one thing; making sure they are appropriately qualified for the specific safety-driven requirements of the task at hand is something else.

In addition, we want to make sure that new directors are not so burdened down with other responsibilities that they fail to adequately dive into the governance of PG&E, which has also come under renewed CPUC scrutiny. The corporate governance of PG&E demands the full attention of qualified people, not the splintered attention of otherwise well-meaning executives whose time and commitments are divided.   

I have met with utility executives and board members over the years, and they all say the right things about being committed to safety. We need to look past those assurances, dig deeper, and find out who is making decisions, how qualified they are, and whether we have the right leadership at PG&E. Under the major wildfire legislation passed last year and signed into law by former Gov. Jerry Brown, Senate Bill 901, we are also extending that safety culture examination to the other investor owned utilities regulated by the CPUC.

Specifically, our latest decision requires PG&E and PG&E Corp. to provide the following information for each board member within the next 20 days: 

  • Any safety-specific education and training received, including any education or training relating to corporate safety culture or safety management programs, with dates, provider and any certifications.
  • All direct, supervisorial or management level safety‑specific work experience, including all experience with corporate safety culture or safety management programs, with dates, job title, and including both general job duties and safety-specific job duties.
  • All safety-specific board of director experience, including specific safety committees served on, dates of service, the scope of committee jurisdiction, and any experience relating to corporate safety culture or safety management programs.
  • All other previous and current board positions at other organizations, including dates, names of companies, and any special duties or offices.
  • All other current professional commitments, including employment, consulting or other contract work, and any significant and ongoing volunteer work. PG&E and its parent company are also required to provide non-confidential versions of the minutes of all board meetings and safety committee meetings to our Safety and Enforcement Division.

With hot and dry weather upon us, the Commission is acutely aware of the growing threat California faces from catastrophic wildfires. We need utility leaders with the right experience and backgrounds-executives and others who are at the very top of their games-to make sure an unwavering commitment to safety really is embedded into every level of the utilities we regulate.

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