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Employers in Six Communities Announce Youth-Designed Actions to Promote Diversity and Inclusion

Posted on: March 9, 2022

Youth-Designed Actions

February 08, 2022

WASHINGTON – This month, employers in six communities announced a series of new commitments to address and promote inclusion and belonging in the workplace for young employees of color. These commitments are the culmination of a unique collaboration supported by America’s Promise Alliance, known as Action Roundtables, between employers, nonprofit partners, and young workers in each community.

As part of the Action Roundtables, 18 employers and more than two dozen young professionals ages 17-26 in the six regions worked together within their communities to co-create and co-design the strategies announced today. The strategies include both short- and long-term steps employers will take to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, including an internship program for young people of color in Macon, Ga. and an effort in South Texas to recruit and retain more young teachers of color.

The objective of the Action Roundtables was to center the perspectives of young workers of color, who are often excluded from employers’ decision-making, and improve inclusion in the workplace. Over the course of several months, each community partner facilitated a series of virtual convenings between young workers and area employers on race, identity, and belonging in the workplace. Young professionals of color shared their experiences navigating the workplace and helped employers identify areas for growth.

The YES (Young, Employed, Successful) Project, a national youth employment initiative led by America’s Promise Alliance, supported the collaborations with $20,000 grants to each community organization. The Action Roundtable grants reflect a key finding identified in the YES Project’s youth-centered research: young people view their work and their lives as deeply intertwined. This means that success in the workplace requires a multi-dimensional, whole-person approach that acknowledges and values all aspects of one’s identity.

“We applaud these communities for recognizing the value that young people bring to the table when it comes to creating more inclusive and equitable workplaces,” said Mike O’Brien, CEO of America’s Promise Alliance. “The collaboration with young professionals and the resulting employer commitments are a model of community engagement we hope other employers will replicate.”

The community grantees, participating employers, and employer commitments are listed below:

Central Georgia Technical College Foundation (CGTCF)—Macon, Ga.:  

  • City of Milledgeville: formation of EMBRACE Milledgeville, a training awareness path designed to explore issues of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with employees and the community.
  • Spherion Staffing and Recruiting: development of a 13- week paid internship program for youth of color, expanding an immersive workplace experience with young professionals.
  • Georgia Artisan Furnishings: creation of a Workplace Safety and Inclusivity poster as a new initiative, focused on basic safety expectations while simultaneously communicating a welcoming atmosphere for all employees.

Greater Stark County Urban League (GSCUL)—Canton, Ohio:  

  • Aultman Health Foundation: establishment of quarterly meetings between Aultman Recruiters and GSCUL employment Navigators to seek more diverse candidates and provide direct feedback with solutions to issues that arise in the application process.
  • Akron-Canton Airport: creation of a “Young Aviators” program that could include a tour of the airport for high school students and potentially an internship for 2-4 college students to increase awareness of careers.
  • Kenan Advantage Group: implementation of an outreach plan to area high schools and Boys and Girls Clubs in the counties of KAG sites, nationally, to engage and expose top young diverse talent to KAG.

Kalamazoo Youth Development Network (KYD)—Kalamazoo, Mich.:  

  • Stryker: elevation of onboarding practices to improve belonging at the onset of employment.
  • Landscape Forms: creation of a community outreach calendar with specific events and organizations to intentionally broaden Landscape Forms’ employer brand in the community, with a particular focus on spaces that communities of color have exposure to.
  • Duncan Aviation: formation of a calendar of trainings offered in Kalamazoo by local diversity, equity, and inclusion organizations and communication of those offerings to the entire company.

Rural Schools Innovation Zone (RSIZ)—Premont, Texas: 

  • Bay Area Construction: exploration of options to establish career exploration and training programs to build a more diverse pool of applicants for internship roles.
  • Premont Independent School District: creation of a series of informal Coffee Hour conversations with Premont teachers and Grow Your Own students to ask questions, break down barriers, and build community.
  • CHRISTUS Spohn Health Systems (Hospitals): articulation of the benefits of a career in healthcare at Christus Spohn hospitals and dissemination of this information to young leaders in the community.

The Pittsburgh Promise (TPP)—Pittsburgh, Pa.: 

  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: diversification of workforce pipeline via outreach to middle and high school students about the variety of career opportunities available at UPMC.
  • PNC Financial Services: awareness-raising about multicultural holidays and expanded youth employment outreach.
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific (TFS): improvement of diverse recruitment efforts via an event co-hosted with The Pittsburgh Promise at the University of Pittsburgh to share TFS career opportunities with current college students.

Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative (TCCC)—North Charleston, S.C.: 

  • eGroup: changes to hiring policies and practices to increase diversity including conducting a diversity hiring audit and increasing diversity in candidate sourcing, screening, and shortlisting.
  • Ingevity: creation of a job shadowing and apprenticeship program with local high schools with predominantly minority student populations.
  • Roper St. Francis Hospital: definition of a clear, detailed road map for advancement for a variety of entry-level positions.

The virtual Action Roundtables are made possible through the generous financial support of AT&T; the guidance of steering committee and alliance members; and insight from corporations, foundations, and individuals who invest their resources and time into the YES Project’s mission.

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The YES Project—Young, Employed, Successful—engages America’s Promise Alliance and its partners in unifying the nation to reach a major collective goal: every young person seeking a job can find a job—and thrive once they get it. www.AmericasPromise.org/YES 

America’s Promise Alliance is the driving force behind a nationwide movement to improve the lives and futures of America’s youth. Its work is anchored in the belief that every young person deserves to succeed, and every adult is responsible for making that happen. By bringing together hundreds of national nonprofits, businesses, community and civic leaders, educators, citizens, and young people, the Alliance does what no single organization can do on its own: catalyze action on a scale that reaches millions of young people. www.AmericasPromise.org 

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