Minority Set Aside Programs

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Minority Set-Aside programs, such as the Small Contractors Set-Aside Program, are contract award preference programs intended for state based small contractors. In the state of Connecticut, Small contractors are classified as those: 1) which have been in business for a minimum of one year; 2) that maintain its primary place of business in the State of Connecticut; and 3) with a prior years' gross revenue of less than $10,000,000. This essay will discuss the issue of minority set aside programs and the moral implications of trying to improve the employment and educational opportunities of women and minorities through state and federal legislation (Policy Link, 2005). The traditional beliefs and stereotypes that have been perpetuated throughout history and across generational lines, presents a foundation for discrimination against women and minorities. A woman's place is in the home where she is to cook, clean, and care for her family. She is to support her husband in his endeavors; women lack the physical characteristics that make men better candidates for certain jobs and/or professions; women are a hassle to employee because of all the special treatment that they require due to their particular body chemistry. These are just some of the common reasons why the employment industry lacks the presence of women. African Americans are prone to criminal behavior such as theft and illegal drug activity. They have also been labeled as extremely violent individuals, academically inferior and neglect to pay their debts. Along with African Americans, Hispanics have been labeled as lazy, cowardly and uneducated. Those who are stereotyped have a propensity of being discriminated against. Just think of it, if you were given a choice of providing employment to a person or group of people who are commonly known as lazy uneducated criminals because of race or to another group which has been labeled hardworking highly educated innovators, which group would group would you label as having the most utility. The utilitarian theory of ethics, which asserts that the consequences of hiring individuals with a strong work ethic and the education over those with a predisposition to criminal behavior, would determine that the greatest amount of good will be served by the employees without a predisposition to criminal behavior and are productive members of society. Minority set aside programs, as part of the affirmative action program, can be seen as morally acceptable according to the harm principle of utilitarian ethics. The harm principle states that society is justified in coercing the behavior of an individual in order to prevent them from harming others. If stereotypes and traditional ideas govern the lives and decisions of employers, then women and minorities would be passed over time and time again. As members of a growing society with lives and families of their own, they too deserve the right to be given an opportunity to adequately provide for their families above the poverty line level. The utilitarian theory of ethics suggests that affirmative action provides a great amount of good, in the form of opportunities, for minorities "who would otherwise not have the opportunity".

Minorities comprise a more than 20 percent of the United States population and yet they own a mere 9 percent of all construction firms and obtain only 5 percent of all construction contracts. "Banks and other service companies are often not receptive to supporting new businesses with diverse ownership" is a common complaint among women and minorities trying to break into such an industry as construction. Construction firms that do not have the experience, resources, and manpower capacity are unable to bid on large scale projects. The deficiency of large scale projects for start up company's inhibits their ability to sufficiently build capacity to be able to compete for such contracts. The wave of equal opportunity employment is a long way from the shore of being...
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