What is a Disparity Study?

A disparity study examines whether there are differences between:

  • The percentage of dollars that minority- and woman-owned businesses received on an organization’s prime contracts and subcontracts during a particular time period (utilization); and
  • The percentage of dollars that those businesses would be expected to receive based on their availability to perform on the organization’s prime contracts and subcontracts (availability).

The comparison between the participation of minority- and woman-owned businesses in an organization’s contracting and the availability of those businesses to perform that work is referred to as a disparity analysis. In addition to utilization, availability, and disparity analyses, disparity studies typically examine other quantitative and qualitative information about:

  • Legal considerations surrounding the implementation of minority- and woman-owned business programs;
  • Conditions in the local marketplace for minorities; women; and minority- and woman-owned businesses;
  • Contracting practices and business assistance programs that the organization currently has in place; and
  • Potential program measures for consideration as part of the organization’s implementation of minority- and woman-owned business programs.

When will the disparity study be completed?

The study will be completed in May 2022. For the study schedule, click here.

What types of contracts are being studied?

The disparity study will examine prime contracts and subcontracts that MDT and Montana airports awarded from October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2020. The study will examine construction and professional services contracts.

What will MDT do with information from the disparity study?

Information that the project team collects as a part of the MDT Disparity Study will help MDT and Montana airport implement the Federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program. Among other information, the disparity study will provide:

  • An independent, objective review of minority- and woman-owned business participation in state and airport prime contracts and subcontracts.
  • Information that is useful for setting overall annual aspirational goals for the participation of minority- and woman-owned businesses in state contracting; and
  • Insights about how MDT might improve contracting for local businesses and how it could better encourage the participation of minority- and woman-owned businesses in the future.

How will availability and utilization be considered for airports and highways if the firms that perform work at those locations are different?

A separate analysis will be performed for FAA and FHWA funding. Firms that perform construction and engineering related work on airport projects will be included in the availability, utilization, and disparity analyses for FAA funded projects awarded through Montana airports. Likewise, firms that work on highway related projects will be considered in the analyses for FHWA funded projects awarded through MDT.

Will the results of disparity study be made public?

Yes, as portions of the study are completed, they will be posted in the Materials section.

How can I participate in the disparity study process?

There are several ways in which you can participate in the MDT Disparity Study:

  • Share your experiences working in the local marketplace or with MDT. See the Comments Section for information on how to provide feedback or email the project team directly at MDTDisparityStudyXYZbbcresearchABCcom.
  • Join us for a community meeting where you can learn more about the disparity study process, ask questions, and submit testimony about your experiences working in the marketplace. For details about community meetings, click here.
  • Respond to our requests to complete an availability survey. If you represent a business working in the local marketplace, please help the project team by participating!
  • Call us if you have any unanswered questions about the study. For our contact information, click here.