I have worked as a liaison between members and the Central CERT agencies on multiple certification issues. As noted in a previous blog, mentoring our AWC members through certification has always been a function here. So many of our members joined because of meeting with Claudia on certification application issues. Now we work hand in hand with the counselors at Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) on assisting members with applying for certification.
AWC had historically been the “sniff test” on the legitimacy of businesses certified or applying for certification. We have never shied away from protecting the integrity of the program by reporting fronts to the various programs. It has gotten harder with the staff changes at most of the agencies but that doesn’t deter us.
AWC also works with members and potential members on the importance of notifying the certifying agency of changes to their businesses. Whether it is expanding their services to get their certification NAICS codes applied for, removing codes if decrease in services, and notifying the entity of business structure changes.
I have had several businesses contact me this past year regarding their recertification status. After many changes within HREEO there was a backlog earlier this year with renewals. I have heard that the backlog is now caught up and that is great news. One thing that has changed since initial certification however is that you no longer receive a physical certificate or re-certificate. Moreover, we have found that the email stream has been minimal. If you are questioning your CERT status you can search for your business in the CERT Directory. When your business comes up click on the certification designation (MBE, SBE, WBE) and it will take you to a page with your status noting dates of certification and expiration. You can print that out when a GC is requesting your proof of certification.
I recommend all businesses take time to look up your listing, in not only CERT but on all the different directories. Make sure your information is correct including contact information. It is easy to forget to notify an agency of change. I recommend setting a recurring calendar appointment each January to review all your certifications. This is the certified businesses responsibility so if it is incorrect there is only you to blame.
Wondering what certifications your business needs?
Check out Barb’s Blog Certification Series: Part 1: “You Must Use Me — I’m a Certified Business”, Part 2: “Which Certifications Do I Need to Get?”, and Part 3: Good Faith Efforts: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.