California DBE Program

The program summary on this page was last updated on 02/01/2023. If any of the information or links are out-of-date, please contact us.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), with the California Office of Civil Rights, is the responsible for the state certification of disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs). The department has set an overall 22.2 percent DBE participation goal for contracts that receive federal funding. Part of this goal is achieved through the use of DBE subcontracting goals on individual contracts, which prime contractors must make a good faith effort to achieve. In addition to requiring good faith effort outreach to encourage the use of DBEs on department contracts, Caltrans hosts a variety of certification workshops, technical seminars, and networking events for DBEs and DBE-eligible firms.

Does this local/state program offer reciprocal certifications with other local/state programs? As a result of federal rulemaking effective February 28, 2011, all states are required to accept DBE certification obtained in other states, unless the state finds good cause not to accept it.

Does this certification expire? While DBE certification does not expire, a DBE is required to submit an Annual Update Affadavit (AUA) to their certifying authority, verifying that the DBE is still eligible to be considered as such.

Does this program require bidders attempt to meet make a good-faith effort to meet DBE goals? Yes. Prime contractors must make a good-faith effort to achieve the participation goals on projects receiving federal funding.

Are there multiple agencies that offer this certification in the state? The Caltrans branch of the California Unified Certification Program (CUCP) can certify businesses as a DBE for the purposes of doing business as a DBE with other entities in California, as can other agencies participating in the CUCP (a full list of such agencies is available at https://dot.ca.gov/-/media/dot-media/programs/civil-rights/documents/dbe/cucp-roster-of-certifying-agencies-1-2021-a11y.pdf).

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