Travis County commissioners voted 4-1 to approve an agreement with The University of Texas at Austin meant to enhance minority participation in the county’s contracting program at a July 16 meeting.
Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, who represents Precinct 3, opposed.
The Commissioners Court is overseeing an ongoing effort to reform and improve the county’s Historically Underutilized Business program.
In November, the Commissioners Court were briefed on the results of a disparity study conducted for the HUB program.
It found the county spent around 12% of its total contract expenditures to hire minority- and women-owned businesses in fiscal year 2017-18. That rate has remained relatively flat for the last few years.
One of the recommendations made by the study’s authors was to examine and assess the race- and gender-neutral initiatives currently administered under Travis County’s HUB program.
Under this new agreement, a research team at UT will identify and determine the effectiveness and efficiency of these initiatives as well as new ones the county could implement.
Additionally, researchers will provide analysis or best practices in other jurisdictions that may be applicable in Travis County, review and make recommendations about operational issues in the current HUB program, and analyze and recommend approaches for the creation and sustainability of entrepreneurial startups, particularly for HUB entrepreneurs.
The county will pay UT $132,000 for this contract, which will run from Aug. 1, 2019, through July 31, 2020.