From Conversation to Implementation: Advancing Workforce Diversity, Inclusion and Equity

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By Sara Taylor, Community Liaison and Training Specialist

Some people think that diversity and inclusion are just politically correct “buzzwords” and any event on the topic will stir up uncomfortable conversations or emotions. We know that conversations surrounding diversity, inclusion, and equity are necessary, and are socially and morally responsible. They provide vital education and information to strategically advance any organization by creating a more inclusive and diverse workforce. This not only makes good business sense, it also seeks to improve the lives of marginalized people.

With a focused planning team, our collective vision is to assist companies and organizations with becoming an employer who is recognized as a diversity and inclusion change agent in the upstate New York region. We want to collaborate with community stakeholders to increase employer competencies to attract, recruit, retain and advance the broadest diversity in talent. The Right Talent, Right Now: Improving Business and Health Outcomes Through Workforce Diversity Symposium will focus on two areas that I passionately advocate for: workforce development and improving outcomes for marginalized populations.

For the last 10 years, I’ve had the opportunity to lead the community efforts to engage companies across industries. I have worked with employer partners who are committed to improving employment outcomes for hiring and retaining people with disabilities, who are often living in poverty. As a woman of color, I also see and have experienced barriers related to career advancement and leadership roles in organizations who primarily serve minority populations. Education, experience, creditability and qualifications don’t seem to be enough for thousands of individuals who get a “NO” when seeking employment or career advancement. Stereotypes, myths and perceptions have led to systematic “ceilings” for people with disabilities and minority populations. With this upcoming event, we want the opportunity to let company leaders, community leaders and recruiters know the great benefits of a more inclusive workforce, and they have the ability and resources to hire and retain the right talent, right now.