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To participate in the JCPenney Supplier Diversity Program, vendors must register in the Supplier Diversity Portal found on the JCPenney corporate website. Program participants must be U.S.-based and diverse-owned (minority-owned, woman-owned, disabled-owned, veteran-owned, service disabled veteran-owned, or LGBT-owned). Participants are expected to maintain certifications from a national, regional or state credentialing agency. JCPenney recognizes certifications from the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), Disability:In, the National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA), the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce (USPAACC), the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), and Federal, Regional and State certifying agencies.

While there is no cost to participate in the JCPenney Supplier Diversity Program, there are costs associated with being certified as a diverse–owned business; those costs are paid to the certifying organization. Though JCPenney strives to support and develop businesses owned by diverse suppliers, it is equally important to note that participation in the JCPenney Supplier Diversity Program does not guarantee a contract. All contracts awarded must be mutually beneficial for all concerned parties.