As 2018 ended, our city and region continued its efforts to value the inclusion of diversity.
Various groups and individuals engaged our residents in understanding and promoting efforts to connect across cross cultural differences. For example, Mayor Ken McClure and Springfield City Council, Missouri State University, Ozarks Technical Community College, the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, NAACP Springfield and others recognized the need to acknowledge the contributions of black Springfieldians through the designation of the Springfield-Greene County African-American Heritage Trail.
Drury University, MSU, the NAACP and other community members commemorated the 100th birthday celebration of the Rev. Oliver Brown, former pastor of Benton AME Church. Brown and his daughter Linda, who attended Central High School, were the named plaintiffs in the Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in 1954 that integrated our nation’s public schools.
The Community Foundation of the Ozarks awarded diversity and inclusion grants to Drury and Grupo LatinoAmericano; FosterAdopt Connect Inc. and Fresh Start; The GLO Center and PROMO; Friends of Timmons Temple Inc., Springfield-Greene County Park Board and the NAACP; MSU and the Facing Racism Institute; and the African-American Heritage Trail.
Also in the last year, McClure recognized and acknowledged the value of diversity and inclusion in the state of the city address. Collectively, our public entities collaborated with community partners, including Minorities in Business and the NAACP, to increase participation for diverse local emerging businesses, minority-owned and women-owned businesses, and the federally recognized disadvantaged business enterprises.
Numerous efforts promoted cultural consciousness and awareness across the divides that create barriers educationally, socioeconomically, governmentally and politically. MSU’s Division for Diversity and Inclusion worked with organizations as varied as the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau, CoxHealth and the Waynesville School District to increase diversity awareness, knowledge and skills development through training, professional development and community fairs.
Despite the remaining challenges of poverty, domestic abuse, sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, national divisiveness and polarization, these diversity and inclusion activities are indicative of local leadership and efforts to promote inclusive excellence. We’re striving to recognize and embrace the fact that all residents are to be valued and respected for whom they are and what they contribute to our vibrant city and region.
In 2019, we will not rest on our laurels. We continue our diversity and inclusion efforts to increase, enhance and value the inclusion of diversity with our partners and collaborators. Springfield’s leadership in various sectors has demonstrated its commitment to engaging all in building an inclusively excellent community. MSU’s commitment to inclusion is memorialized in its long-range plan and the annual action plans that report the related successes. We will continue our cultural consciousness and inclusive excellence professional development of students, faculty, staff and in the general community. A student leadership diversity and inclusion training model is being developed for our student organizations, including the MSU Student Government Association.
We look forward to the Collaborative Diversity Conference, this year scheduled April 24-27 under the theme “Bridging the Cultural Divides” and featuring author Irshad Manji, the founder of the Moral Courage Project. The conference highlights best practices in diversity and inclusion in business, community relations, higher education and public service.
The Facing Racism Institute will have opportunities for participation, including a one-day session at the April conference. The Public Entities Diversity Workgroup will document the increased participation of minority-owned and women-owned businesses and DBEs, and diverse hiring opportunities, while we also will work with private-sector businesses and corporations to launch a similar effort.
We invite your engagement and participation in making the Springfield community region an even more welcoming environment where the inclusion of diversity is a value for all who live, learn and earn here. Join us in 2019 and beyond.
Wes Pratt is chief diversity officer and an assistant to the president at Missouri State University. He can be reached at email@example.com.
The community’s architectural and engineering professionals present these 25 projects as an insight into their portfolios.
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Ömer Önder, owner of Springfield Diner, struggles with the process of renaming his restaurant. The process led by Dustin Myers and Jeremy Wells, owners of the branding agency Longitude LLC. Ömer expresses all of the emotions he is going through as they work together to revise his seating, menu, hours, and a name to reflect those changes.
It is projected that 10,000 people in the United States will turn 65 years old everyday for 19 years, and non profits are going to be competing over the coming years in a fierce labor market. Give Five was developed as a civic matchmaking program to help connect capable retirees with charitable organizations that need help. Greg Burris outlines the problems the program addresses, opportunities for individuals and organizations, as well as how United Way of the Ozarks is licensing to the program to share with other communities.
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With more job openings than people to fill them, it is time for your company to evaluate how you are motivating and engaging your team to help you retain and attract the best talent. Sherry Coker, Executive Director at the OTC Center for Workforce Development, walks you through tangible and intangible incentives that encourage employee engagement, performance enhancement, and higher job satisfaction.
"When we first started we thought we could pretty much do this on our own," discloses Vera Gibbons with Baby Foot®. "We thought we knew what would be great...that's not really what happened." Gibbons recommends partnering with a strong marketing partner early and give them a budget.
With four generations in the workplace, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of how each approaches brainstorming can make all the difference in arriving at the best idea. Boomer Kay Logsdon, Director of Applications at CultureWaves, and self-described fossil Millennial Locke Hilderbrand share what their trends research at CultureWaves tells us about generational differences and tips on how to bridge the gaps. Generations in the Workplace is an ongoing multi-episode series tackling the issues of generational conflict.