KC Scholars Focusing on Diversity in the Workforce
Workforce diversity has been a topic of interest and concern in recent years. It’s never been more essential to develop and sustain a supportive and inclusive workplace culture. Progress has been made but there is still work to be done.
Today, According to Accelerator for America, 22.5% of the labor force in the KC Metro area is of a diverse background, with African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans making up a large portion of this percentage. Women comprise 47.6% of the KC Metro area labor force. This represents an opportunity for our Kansas City community to continue diversifying opportunity for minorities and women who are underrepresented in industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, construction, and information technology. KC Scholars’ newest program, Great Jobs KC (GJKC) was designed to support your diversity, equity and inclusion efforts by preparing and facilitating diverse, qualified workers that could efficiently fulfill your organizational needs. Partnering with you and our Greater Kansas City community elevates the overall socio-economic success of the Kansas City community.
In Kansas City, 25% of jobs that provide a family sustaining income do not require a two or four-year degree. This indicates that shorter programs can lead to careers that offer advancement and financial sustainability for a family. Our scholar demographics demonstrate that KC Scholars is in a unique position to help populations that are more likely not to have completed postsecondary credentials. Through the 2022 scholarship cycle, 75% of KC Scholars scholarship awardees were non-white. 83.5% of scholars who have engaged with GJKC are non-white (engagement includes profile creation through enrollment and graduation).
We have a unique opportunity to help thousands of Kansas Citians move from underemployment or unemployment to economic stability. Great Jobs KC is responding to direct feedback from adult learners and regional business leaders. Adults want a faster path to a high demand, good paying job. Business leaders recognize that at a time of record-low unemployment and noted skills gaps, there is a desperate need for skilled workers. Reducing barriers to career training and employment will foster opportunities, health, and economic growth for all.
From improving creativity and innovation to increasing employee satisfaction and retention, there are numerous advantages to fostering a diverse workforce.
How can companies promote diversity?
There are a variety of ways that companies can promote diversity in their workforce. Some strategies include:
- Seeking opportunities to recruit candidates from diverse backgrounds, by using online resources that specialize in diverse populations.
- Providing regular training for employees and managers on (D, E, I, B, and A).
- Conducting regular evaluation/audits of organization’s practices and policies intended to promote (D, E, I, B, and A) then identifying areas for improvement.
- Encouraging open communication and dialogue about diversity and inclusion.
- Celebrating and recognizing diversity through company events and initiatives.
- Supports an organizational culture that values diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and accessibility (D, E, I, B, and A)
- Ensuring that company policies and practices are inclusive and equitable.
What are some challenges to promoting diversity?
Despite the many benefits of a diverse workforce, there can be challenges to promoting diversity in the workplace. Some common obstacles include:
- Unconscious bias, where people may have implicit biases that affect their decision-making.
- Lack of understanding or awareness about diversity and its benefits.
- Resistance to change or a lack of buy-in from leadership.
- Difficulty finding diverse candidates in certain industries or fields, again working with KC Scholars helps to mitigate this issue.
What are some best practices for promoting diversity?
To effectively promote diversity in the workforce, companies should:
- Commit to diversity and inclusion as core values.
- Set measurable goals and track progress.
- Build diverse hiring and recruitment practices.
- Foster an inclusive workplace culture through training and communication.
- Hold leadership accountable for diversity and inclusion efforts.
In summary, promoting diversity in the workforce is not only the right thing to do, but it can also benefit a company in numerous ways. By understanding the importance of diversity, and implementing strategies to promote it, companies can create a more inclusive and productive workplace for everyone.
Great Jobs KC is KC Scholars’ newest program designed to remove barriers for adults who want to increase their income and ultimately their economic stability and self-sufficiency. Great Jobs KC provides access to short-term, flexible, skills-based career training programs that is tuition free for those that qualify. The goal is to lead to jobs paying $45k to $85k.