In Oregon, nine local Workforce Development Boards support their designated regions to build a comprehensive workforce system that is responsive to the needs of employers and talent through advocacy, collaboration, relationship building, and investments.
Lane County’s local workforce board, Lane Workforce Partnership, has been a recognized leader in convening industry, local leaders, and community stakeholders to help address workforce priorities, challenges, and opportunities. With the events of 2020, navigating a global pandemic, and the community outcry for social justice, workforce boards across the region have activated in full force to respond to the needs of their communities.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) has been a workforce priority for decades. Yet, for decades we have seen start-and-stop initiatives around closing the opportunity gap of those affected by workforce segregation, worksite culture, and implicit and unconscious bias. With much of life moving online during the Covid pandemic, Lane Workforce Partnership leaned on technology to provide training that supports our DEI goals in addressing labor inequities and underutilization.
Shift, a woman-founded company in Oregon with a passion for improving lives, developed Shift Bias. This virtual DEI training uses advanced technology to help people show up as the best selves in their workplace and empowers participants with the information and skills needed to feel confident in their DEI journey.
Lane Workforce Partnership convened a cohort of 22 community leaders and stakeholders from government, economic development, education, workforce training, community-based organizations, and private businesses to undergo a self-paced, online DEI training experience. The training included peer-to-peer debrief sessions facilitated by Shift founder Wendy Morgan. Shift Bias has eight modules that take between 30-60 minutes and exercises and reflections to complete after each module. To complete the training, participants go through a virtual reality (VR) lab that puts them in another person’s lived experience by virtually walking in someone else’s shoes.
In partnership with the Technology Association of Oregon, Lane Workforce Partnership launched a Leading with Cultural Intelligence (CQ) workshop series for human resource (HR) and hiring professionals facilitated by Anna Boyer Consulting. Each individual took an initial assessment to measure their knowledge and strategies in various cultural contexts, both domestically and internationally. The six-week training focused on cultural values, unconscious bias, inclusive leadership, and developing a CQ action plan for each participant. Thirteen HR directors across a variety of sectors in Lane County formed the roster for this initial cohort.
Diverse organizations have on average 83% higher productivity and 19% higher gross revenue. We also know that, on average, 57% of employees who leave a company would have stayed if decision-makers had taken steps to make the company culture more inclusive. Lane Workforce Partnership is committed to examining systems that are more likely to negatively impact marginalized groups and addressing them so that everyone in our community has the opportunity to thrive.
Building a Strong Workforce through DE&I