By Sean Jacobs: LinkedIn
City and county governments in the United States must immediately develop concrete plans to attract and ultimately hire a more diverse workforce. Individuals with disabilities, women, military veterans, and people of all races, religions, and ethnicity, that are part of the local population need to be appropriately represented.
How does local government increase workforce equity for all?
I recommend creating a joint task force of representatives from International City/County Management Association (ICMA), Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL), and the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). This task force would be comprised of municipal attorneys, human resources professionals, finance directors, city managers, and directors of non-profits who represent minority groups. The group would be tasked with identifying best practices, setting industry standards, and creating a toolbox of effective strategies.
The first step would be requiring all appointed city and county managers, city councilors, and elected county officials to successfully complete an ICMA-certified sensitivity training led by municipal attorneys. The sensitivity training would create inclusive communities led by staff and elected officials who are prepared to work with minority groups. Local government leaders would collaborate with local residents and businesses to identify specific actions (i.e. application process, interviewing, workplace equity, professional development, and succession planning).
I also propose applying the National Football League’s (NFL’s) Rooney Rule to local government which would require interviewing a certain number of women, veterans, and people with disabilities. Similar to the model recently adopted by the City of Portland, OR. (Link: Portland approves Rooney Rule to tackle diversity at top.)