What We Are Doing to Promote Racial Justice
At Opportunity Junction, we know that board members, staffers, and the job seekers we serve have too often experienced the opposite. The brazen killing of George Floyd brought the conversation to the forefront, and we are committed to keeping it there. We recognize that systemic racism is not confined to police practices but extends to the fields of housing, education, health, and employment, among others.
- Equity Dashboards: We have introduced equity dashboards for each of our core employment programs, disaggregating by race the number of applicants, acceptance rates, completion rates, and average starting wage. Program Managers will be reviewing these dashboards and investigating any differences that they reveal.
- Equity Analysis: Our Data Analyst has completed an analysis of race, ethnicity, and more than two dozen other factors that could explain outcomes for alumni of the Administrative Careers Training (ACT) program and Career Counseling and Placement Assistance (CCPA). He used both a multiple regression analysis and a boosted decision tree model. Race and ethnicity showed no consistent impact across both models, for either program. Significant factors for ACT and CCPA outcomes in both models were program exit date and age at enrollment. Education level also had a significant effect on ACT outcomes.
- DEI Training Curriculum: A cross-program task force of instructors is developing a DEI curriculum to include in our life skills and professional skills training, to support our job seekers in working both in workplaces that are already diverse and those that are not yet.
- Board of Directors: The Board of Directors is committed to remaining diverse and strong as members cycle on and off over time.
- DEI Advisory Committee: Our staff DEI Advisory Committee has launched with biweekly meetings and plans to review staff and board diversity, as well as hiring practices, onboarding, and ongoing training.
- Competency-Based Hiring: We have adopted competency-based hiring, eliminating unnecessary qualifications (like college and graduate degrees) that filter out candidates who have acquired the needed competencies through other means. This is not new, but it is an important element of staff recruitment.
- Asset-Based Framing: Our board Marketing Committee now regularly reviews our materials to ensure that they focus on the aspirations of the motivated job seekers we serve, rather than defining them by their challenges. At their November 2020 meeting, our Board of Directors adopted a revised mission statement: "To help motivated Contra Costa job seekers develop the skills and confidence to launch careers that lead to financial security." We have also updated the statements of our core belief and values.
- Employer Toolkit: Although we are not experts, we will share our DEIB tools and our progress with our employer partners. We have added a non-discrimination paragraph to the Employer Agreement we use. We are available to make presentations to employers, including "Inclusive Hiring During a Pandemic," which we presented to the Antioch Chamber of Commerce in October 2020. (Click here for accompanying Toolkit.)
- Advocacy and Lobbying Policy: Although we are primarily a direct services organization, we recognize that legislative and administrative policies directly impact the lives of our job seekers, staff members, and board members. In September, 2020, we adopted the promotion of racial justice as one of our broader advocacy objectives in our official lobbying policy.