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8 CHAPTER TWO SUMMARY OF SURVEY RESPONSES This chapter provides a summary of the results of the survey dents. They were also very experienced with several of the and interviews, and provides analysis of key data regarding marketing and outreach strategies, including "branding, mar- states' use of race-neutral measures. It includes a separate keting, and publicizing the state's DBE programs," which had analysis of data from the subset of states that use or have used been used by 100% of respondents. 100% race-neutral measures in their DBE programs. Fewer respondents had used the strategies related to finan- cial assistance. Administrative support strategies (measures SURVEY RESULTS that states take to facilitate DBE participation by adjusting their policies or by establishing initiatives such as mentor/protégé The survey was sent to representatives of all 50 states and the programs) were also less frequently used. Figure 1 shows the District of Columbia. Responses were received from 47 states, eight strategies most commonly used by respondents. or 94%--a high response rate that ensured that states of all sizes and geographic areas were represented. Most and Least Effective Race-Neutral Measures Survey respondents were asked to evaluate 22 race-neutral measures in four categories: Supportive services and training measures ranked among the highest in terms of effectiveness, with four of the five mea- 1. Supportive services and training sures in this category ranking among the most effective in the 2. Administrative support survey (among respondents who had used them). The strategy 3. Marketing and outreach ranking the highest in the survey, however, was an adminis- 4. Financial assistance. trative support strategy--"limiting certain small contracts to proposals by small firms only," which was rated effective by Respondents used a five-point scale to rank these strategies: 91% of those who had used it. Figure 2 shows how respon- dents rated the effectiveness of the 22 strategies named in the 1 = Not at all effective survey. 2 = Somewhat effective 3 = Effective The strategies receiving the highest percentage of 4 and 4 = Very effective 5 ratings ("very effective" or "extremely effective") among 5 = Extremely effective. those who had used them were also identified. These strategies were the same as those that received the highest percentage of All of the 22 race-neutral strategies were rated "effective" ratings of 3, 4, and 5, with one exception: The strategy "par- (receiving a rating of 3, 4, or 5) by at least 50% of the respon- ticipating in loan mobilization programs (assisting banks in dents who had used them. A summary of patterns in states' providing loans to DBEs)" tended to divide respondents. It assessment of the strategies is provided in chapter three. received no ratings of 3 ("effective"), and it appears in both the list of strategies that received the highest percentage of ratings of 4 and 5 (see Figure 3) and those that received the highest Most Commonly Used Race-Neutral Measures percentage of ratings of 1 and 2. Respondents had more experience with some of the 22 strate- This strategy, along with the two other strategies that gies named in the survey than others. Six strategies were used received the highest percentages of ratings of 4 and 5 (see Fig- by more than 90% of respondents, whereas at the other end ure 3), is the subject of a case example in chapter five. of the spectrum only 24% of respondents had used the strat- egy "limiting certain small contracts to proposals by small firms only." Least Effective Strategies Respondents had the most experience with supportive ser- Of the 22 strategies discussed in the survey, no strategy was vices and training measures; of the five measures in that rated ineffective (receiving ratings of 1 or 2--"not at all effec- grouping, four had been used by more than 90% of respon- tive" or "somewhat effective") by more than half of those who
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9 FIGURE 1 Race-neutral strategies most commonly used by survey respondents. (*Respondents who provided a 1 to 5 rating for a strategy rather than selecting "Have not used" were counted as having used the strategy.) had used it. The strategy rated least effective, "assisting DBEs ˇ Branding, marketing, and publicizing the states' DBE with bonding and financing," was rated a 1 or 2 by 43% of programs those who had used it. ˇ Assisting firms in using technology ˇ Providing firms with one-on-one business reviews and/or Eight strategies were rated less effective (receiving ratings technical assistance of 1 or 2) by between 38% and 43% of respondents who had ˇ Providing training classes and technical education. used them. These strategies fell under the categories of admin- istrative support, marketing and outreach, and financial assis- There were no strategies that were commonly used but tance. See Figure 2 (bottom chart) for the strategies respondents rated ineffective. Of the strategies rated least effective, only rated least effective. one was used by more than 70% of respondents: "publishing newsletters reaching out to DBEs," which was used by 85% of respondents and rated effective by 62% of those. Most Significant Challenges Additional observations about strategies' effectiveness The challenges states identified as most significant in meeting include: their DBE goals for highway contracting spanned multiple areas. Financial challenges were significant, including exter- ˇ The strategy "facilitating meetings and networking nal factors (the economy, fuel costs), DBEs' cash flow issues between DBEs and prime contractors" was the third most and lack of access to capital, and DBEs' inability to obtain commonly used strategy, but tied for 13th place in the bonding. Challenges relating to DBEs' lack of skills, experi- effectiveness rankings at 69%. This strategy relates ence, or equipment were cited as well. more closely to fostering communication and connec- tions between DBEs and prime contractors than any Figure 4 shows the 19 challenges listed in the survey in other strategy listed in the survey, and respondents wrote order of how significant they were rated by survey respondents more about that topic than any other topic in the survey. who had experienced them. The overarching theme among their comments was how critically important communication between DBEs and Patterns in States' Use of Race-Neutral Measures prime contractors is, both in establishing new relation- ships and in maintaining successful partnerships. States' responses to the survey questions about the effective- ˇ In respondents' open-ended comments, the only strategy ness of 22 race-neutral strategies and the significance of labeled ineffective was advertising contracting opportu- 19 challenges in meeting their DBE participation goals were nities in trade papers or regular newspapers. Those who evaluated across all respondents and among states using 100% mentioned this stated that DBE firms do not read these race-neutral measures. Of the measures most commonly used publications for job opportunities. by respondents' agencies, the following four were also among ˇ A few respondents mentioned that using state DOT staff those rated most effective: to provide support services, training, and outreach was
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10 FIGURE 2 The 22 race-neutral strategies, and the percentage of survey respondents that gave each strategy a rating of 3, 4, or 5 ("effective," "very effective," and "extremely effective"). *Among those who had used these strategies.
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FIGURE 3 Race-neutral strategies receiving the highest percentage of 4 and 5 ratings ("very effective" and "extremely effective") from survey respondents. *Among those who had used these strategies. FIGURE 4 Respondents' ratings of the significance of 19 challenges that impact states' ability to meet their DBE goals. *Among those who had experienced these challenges.