In June we celebrate Father’s Day, Juneteenth (a federal holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans), and Pride Month. What better month to celebrate our diversity?
Most employees today have heard of the term DEI. It stands for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Diversity is the concept that each of us is unique and different. In Job Corps, we are more successful if we can embrace the contributions of everyone on center.
Equity donates how people are treated. It means being fair-minded and impartial. Are there different rules or consequences for different departments, employees, or students? If so, that creates inequity and has a dire impact on the center culture.
Inclusion involves creating an environment of belonging. This is true for all students and staff and especially true for minorities, people with physical or intellectual differences, and those who may otherwise be “left out” or marginalized. Inclusion is critical since many of our students have felt left out prior to coming to Job Corps. For many, inclusion allows them to see (for the very first time) that they belong.
You may ask, why should we celebrate and embrace diversity?
DEI creates opportunities for better collaboration. When we work together to meet our student needs, they are better served. We all know when a residential counselor or advisor can speak to an academic or CTT instructor about the struggles a student may be experiencing solutions are expedited.
DEI also fosters more productivity and innovation. As people from different backgrounds and experiences come together and share, the ideas flow in a rich and varied manner that brings about “new ways of thinking to create new ways of doing.”
DEI also broaden peoples’ perspectives. Similar to traveling to difference states or countries, DEI allows alternate perspectives to take shape and adds to an employee’s or student’s personal growth and development.
DEI also helps eliminate discrimination. When we get to know each other at a deeper level, we let go of stereotypes and begin to value each other in meaningful ways.
Wind River and Westover provide us many chances to reach out, practice diversity, equity, and inclusion and ensure our centers are “centers of excellence.” We deserve nothing less for our students and ourselves.