The Quality/Diversity Initiative (QDI) began in 1995 in response to a request by Leon County employees, as well as findings of a citizens review committee in the county. The purpose of the initiative is to improve employee relations and management practices and to provide staff with the necessary skills to implement quality management in a diverse workforce. The initiative increases employees' awareness about their racial biases and the barriers they create in the workplace. They attempt to overcome these barriers through constructive dialogue and workshops on how to improve race relations in the workforce.
The initiative has a three-phase approach. The first phase, "Initiation," involves leadership development, strategic planning, a 3-day consultant-facilitated diversity awareness workshop, facilitator training, and team planning and development. In the second phase, "Integration and Capacity Building," programs focus on additional leadership-development sessions, the use of strategic plans, quality skills training, additional 3-day diversity awareness workshops (now co-facilitated by trained staff), and further facilitator training. Every employee in the county attends the 3-day workshop. The workshop explores participants' behaviors, perceptions and attitudes about race and gender. In the last phase, "Institutionalization," participants focus on how to manage diversity.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
Approximately 425 employees or 70% of Leon County's workforce have attended the training workshops, and the county now has 11 tra ined diversity facilitators. Also, there are four diversity support groups to help develop an organizational culture that supports diversity at the department and division level. In general, employees report feeling at ease to discuss ways they can better interact across racial and cultural differences.
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