Equity and Inclusion

Equity and Inclusion Staff
Equity and Inclusion Staff, Summer 2023

The Equity and Inclusion Department builds the capacity of Minority, Women, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (MWDBEs), participates in the Pennsylvania Unified Certification Program (PA UCP), monitors contracts to ensure compliance with county goals, and provides outreach and technical assistance to the business community. The department is charged with supporting an inclusive and equitable environment within both Allegheny County and the county's external-facing services.

Department Goals

  • Develop MWDBEs to build capacity and core competent knowledge
  • Ensure that Allegheny County systems provide equal and fair access to business opportunities
  • Quantify the MWDBE participation in procurement opportunities at Allegheny County
  • Seek new and innovative procedures in daily departmental operations
  • Monitor and track MWDBE program and contract compliance activity at Allegheny County
  • Provide exceptional MWDBE certification processing services to the small business community
  • Promote a strategy to ensure racial equity in programs and services by working with other county departments and community-based organizations

Minority, Women, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program

The Equity and Inclusion Department oversees the MWDBE Program. The MWDBE Program provides maximum opportunities for minority, women, and disadvantaged business enterprises (MBEs, WBEs, and DBEs) to participate in county contracts, assists disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs) to become certified with the Pennsylvania Unified Certification Program (PA UCP), and provides services and resources to help them grow their businesses.

MWDBE Objectives

The program objective is to ensure that all MBEs, WBEs, and DBEs are given the maximum opportunity to obtain and perform on contracts. The goals are 13% for MBEs and 2% for WBEs, and remain in effect throughout the life of each contract.

Allegheny County expects all bidders and proposers to demonstrate a good faith effort to include MBEs, WBEs, and DBEs when bidding on county contracts. Allegheny County provides contract compliance and oversight, technical assistance, and acts as a certifying participant for the Pennsylvania Unified Certification Program (PA UCP).

History of the MWDBE Program

The program was approved by the Board of Allegheny County Commissioners on June 18, 1981. The commissioners at that time were Tom Foerster, Chairman; Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., J.D., Commissioner; and William R. Hunt, M.D., Commissioner.

Initially, the program was an office housed under the Department of Administration, under the leadership of MBE Administrator Charles Harris. In the spring of 1988, the County Salary Board approved the creation of the Department of Minority Business Enterprise/Affirmative Action (the original name) under the leadership of the first director, Alma Coles. The first chairman of the MWDBE Advisory Committee was Reverend Robert Boulden. The department was later renamed the Department of Minority, Women, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise. In January 2020 the Department was again renamed the Department of Equity and Inclusion.

Additional Resources

Certified Firms
Find a certified MWDBE business.

City of Pittsburgh International Business Directory
Join the online directory of immigrant-owned businesses to assist entrepreneurs in growing their businesses.

Online Tax Center(PDF, 21KB)
Find tax preparation resources for small businesses offered by the IRS.

Starting and Operating an LLC
Learn how to start a limited liability company in Pennsylvania.

Tax Tips for the Self-Employed(PDF, 23KB)
Learn six key points from the IRS about self-employment taxes.

Legislation(PDF, 572KB)
View legislation to improve operations of the MWDBE Program.