Menu Home

WMBE Program

Page Content

  • Program Description
  • WMBE Goal Setting
  • Program in Action
    • Construction
    • Consulting
    • Goods and Services
  • Additional Resources and Documents

Program Description

The WMBE Program is the flagship program of Diversity in Contracting at the Port. It is the program that is squarely within the authority of the Port, independent of other government requirements, and most directly impacts the five-year goals to triple WMBE firm participation and increase the percentage of dollars spent on WMBE contracts.

Internal to the Port, Diversity in Contracting staff in the WMBE Program perform the following actions:

  1. Identify a WMBE aspirational goal for construction projects, Port-wide, for the year
  2. Work with department and division directors to develop WMBE aspirational goals for non-construction projects, for their respective department/division, for the year
  3. Conduct affirmative efforts to achieve the set goals
  4. Monitor the attainment of the goals which is a part of directors’ annual performance evaluation

WMBE Goal Setting

The primary way the Port meets its construction goals, and department/division meet their annual non-construction goals is through WMBE goals that are applied to individual projects above certain dollar thresholds (which varies depending on the contract type).

The WMBE goal setting for projects is done in collaboration with Port project stakeholders, the Central Procurement Office, and prime businesses, and generally includes the following steps:

  1. Establish WMBE goal
    The WMBE aspirational goal is the aspirational minimum percentage of WMBE participation that prime firms must agree to make efforts to achieve when responding to the project solicitation. The WMBE contract goal setting process begins during the “pre-procurement” phase when the Diversity in Contracting (DC) Department reviews the project’s scope of work and researches the availability of WMBE firms to determine the appropriate WMBE aspirational goal for that project.
  2. Secure WMBE commitment
    Once a goal has been established, each contract type takes its own path to evaluate efforts for the selection of the prime contractor. During the solicitation process, DC staff negotiate with the selected prime and finalize the dollars or percentage of a contract that will go to WMBE firms.
  3. Track performance against requirement
    Once the Prime accepts a final WMBE commitment percentage, it turns into a requirement they are contractually bound to meet. The DC team tracks the prime’s actual spend and percentage of WMBE spend against their WMBE requirement throughout the life of the project.

WMBE commitments are most often found in Inclusion Plans which prime contractors are required to provide during the solicitation process for a project. It includes a detailed description of the strategies and actions they will conduct to fairly and equitably outreach, support, and contract with WMBEs. The inclusion plan enables the Port to identify the contractors and consultants who share the Port’s value of diversity in contracting and is factored into the overall evaluation of solicitations. Prime contractors are typically asked to address the following items in their Inclusion Plan:

  • Outreach strategy
  • Business development support
  • Strategies for meeting the contract’s WMBE aspirational goal
  • Approaches to resolving disputes

Once a prime contractor wins a project with the Port, they are required to carry out all the strategies and actions described in the inclusion plan that they submitted in response to the solicitation.

Program in Action

As mentioned above, WMBE goals vary depending on the contract type. Not all projects (i.e. smaller projects) are advertised and not all projects have a WMBE aspirational goal. To find out more about WMBE opportunities on projects that are not advertised, please contact

The following are the typical criteria, by contract type, that determines whether or not a Port project will have a WMBE goal:


WMBE Goals are established on individual Major Public Works projects or when subcontracting opportunities are available for the project

Alternative public works requires inclusion plans which are assessed at the time or proposal review.

Low bid aspirational goal that has been identified by the Port: If prime contractor is unable to meet the WMBE aspirational goal at time of bid, they must fill out an Affirmative Effort form to detail their outreach efforts in attempts to achieve the aspirational goal. The form is evaluated and approved by the WMBE team. If not considered satisfactory, apparent low bidder risks losing the bid and the Port may move to the next bidder.

Construction Contracting Cheat Sheet

<Link to sample affirmative effort form>


WMBE Goals are established on individual projects on Category 3 ($200,000 and above) or when subcontracting opportunities are available for the project. Category 2 ($50,000 - $199,999) may have WMBE goals – contracts in this category typically requires 3 candidates and 1 is selected.

Service Agreements Contracting Cheat Sheet

<Link to Sample Inclusion Plan>

Goods and Services

WMBE Goals are established on individual projects on Category 3 ($150,000 and above). WMBE goals may also be established on a case-by-case basis depending on the type of goods and services, WMBE team assessment of WMBE business availability, and when subcontracting is available for the project/effort.

Goods and Services Contracting Cheat Sheet

Additional Resources and Documents

WMBE Disparity Study 2019

Back to Top