California DBE Program

The program summary on this page was last updated on 03/27/2018. If any of the information or links are out-of-date, please contact us.

The Office of Business & Economic Opportunity at the (OBEO) California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is the responsible for the state certification of disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs). The department has set a 12.5 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. There is also a 5th Year AUA process which may require updated personal financial information to be submitted as well.

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 12.5 percent DBE participation 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, including but not limited to the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), and the City of Fresno (a full list of such agencies is available at

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