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Diversity and Inclusion Workshops in High Demand

by Judy Young

Judy Young is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion Programs.

Since the onset of COVID -19 and Black Lives Matters (BLM) interest in our Diversity and Inclusion workshops has significantly increased. While in a typical semester we conduct one workshop or possibly two on certain topics, we now are scheduling three sessions and have added additional ones for January and February. This increased demand is not surprising in the wake of the health crisis and major social unrest in cities across the U.S.

COVID-19 has and continues to have a disproportionate impact on people of color. According to the Centers for Disease Control, while black Americans make up 13% of the country’s population, they represent one-third of confirmed COVID - 19 cases. Similarly, Latinos represent 18% of the population but nearly one-fourth of COVID – 19 cases. People of color are also more likely to be essential workers and therefore less likely to be able to work from home.

As we all have been struggling to cope with the pandemic, we were confronted with the killing of George Floyd in the hands of the Minneapolis police. Today, when we are all equipped with video capabilities on our phones, the death of George Floyd was documented and highlighted police brutality. Consequently, Black Lives Matter protests commenced all over the country and even around the world.

These two watershed events are prompting many organizations to refocus on diversity and inclusion and implement training programs to address racial bias and discrimination at work. The increase in remote work and the disparity it creates compounds the need for advancing and managing inclusion and fostering a sense of belonging for all employees. While diversity and inclusion is a practice, belonging is a feeling. This conceptual difference has been best expressed by Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

So with current events in mind and the demand for diversity and inclusion training, our public programs are now incorporating belonging as a critical component of our workshops. With many employees working remotely, we are not only teaching about ways to create a sense of belonging but also demonstrating how it may be done. We have taken the cue from organizations, including our own, and are scheduling a 30-minute coffee hour prior to starting our workshops to offer participants and instructors time to get acquainted and chat. It is also an opportunity for us to demonstrate how inclusion and engagement may be practiced remotely.

Another topic that we are now amplifying is unconscious bias. While it has been incorporated into most of our workshops before the pandemic and the BLM movement, it has gained interest, significance and importance. While many programs focus on the definitions and types of biases, we are taking our training a step further by incorporating concepts into case studies and group exercises to put theories into practice.

Below is the list of the Diversity and Inclusion workshop series. While interested practitioners may take individual programs of relevance, all are required for the Cornell Advanced Diversity and Inclusion Certificate. For those who seek to become a Cornell Certified Diversity Professional (CCDP), there are a few more requirements: two additional workshops, completion of a pre approved project and a passing grade on the diversity and inclusion exam.

List of Workshops for the Professional Certificate

  1. The Law of Equal Employment Opportunity – 2 days
  2. Fundamentals of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives – 2 days
  3. Inclusive Diversity and Inclusion Talent Management – 2 days
  4. Effective Diversity and Inclusion Councils – 2 days
  5. Diversity and Inclusion Education and Training – 2 days
  6. Competencies to Advance Diversity and Inclusion Strategies – 1 day
  7. Emerging Trends: Recalibrating Diversity and Inclusion – 2 days

Judy Young

  • Director, Diversity and Inclusion Programs, Scheinman Institute