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Missouri re-launching 'Workforce Diversity' initiative

Missouri re-launching 'Workforce Diversity' initiative

August 17th, 2017 by Bob Watson in Local News

The state's Office of Equal Opportunity will join the Workforce Diversity Council in leading a renewed initiative to review current policies, procedures, training and educational resources intended to ensure the state promotes an inclusive work environment.

On Jan. 6, 2016, incoming Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens named Sarah Steelman, shown in this photograph from Facebook, to serve as the Commissioner of the Office of Administration.

On Jan. 6, 2016, incoming Missouri Gov. Eric...

The Workforce Diversity Council involves representatives from each of the state's executive departments and has existed since 2010, when former Gov. Jay Nixon created it in an executive order that also established a 10-part "Code of Fair Practices" for the executive branch.

"It is important that our executive branch departments work to develop and maintain an inclusive atmosphere and diverse workforce. I am proud this administration is prioritizing diversity and inclusion," Office of Administration Commissioner Sarah Steelman said in a news release announcing the renewed effort.

Ryan Burns, OA's spokeswoman, told the News Tribune the council has not convened in recent years.

He said Gov. Eric Greitens' executive cabinet agreed now is an appropriate time to take a fresh look at the state's diversity policies.

Burns said the Workforce Diversity Council members will meet in the coming weeks to discuss the primary goals and timeline for the initiative, with a Nov. 29 deadline for issuing a summary report to the governor.

"This is a big step in the right direction to creating a well-rounded state government," Seth Bauman, director of the Office of Equal Opportunity said. "I'm excited to see a renewed commitment to improving our state government."

Nixon's 2010 executive order charged the Workforce Diversity Council with working to ensure all state employees are educated on issues involving diversity, and of formulating policy and issues that affect workforce diversity in the government's executive branch — that is, state government except for the Legislature and its employees and the courts system.

Burns didn't report any specific issues triggering the renewed action.

Nixon's original order said state government's "personnel practices and procedures within the executive branch should not discriminate, through disparate treatment or disparate impact, against anyone, in violation of any federal or state civil rights statute, executive order, rule, regulation, or judicial decision."

Additionally, the 2010 order said, the state's employment practices and operation of its services and facilities should serve as a model for business, industry and labor.