Workforce diversity efforts at the 2019 AL DÍA Diverse City Career Fair
At the annual AL DÍA Philadelphia Diverse City Career Fair, the exhibitors talked about the importance of workforce diversity, among other things.
The 18th annual AL DÍA Diverse City Career Fair was a tremendous success.
With more than 40 exhibitors in attendance and hundreds of job and career opportunities available, local job seekers were able to talk to a variety of different organizations looking to fill a multitude of roles.
Among the exhibitors present at the career fair included AmeriHealth Caritas, Independence Blue Cross, Aramark, Vanguard, UPS, Prospanica, Herr's, the Children's Crisis Treatment Center, The U.S. Census Bureau, PGW, Community College of Philadelphia, SEPTA, and many more.
As diversity within the city of Philadelphia was a huge theme of the event, I had the opportunity to speak to several of the exhibitors about their job openings, the importance of diversity in the workforce, and much more.
Here are short excerpts from some of the exhibitors in attendance.
The population of the city is greatly diverse. So, too, is the population of the schools throughout the Philadelphia School District.
In a brief conversation with AL DÍA, Andrew Lukov, principal at Southwark School, said the school has a two-way immersion program at the school, which breeds the need for bilingual English and Spanish teachers.
"There are no localized programs at universities," Lukov said. "There’s no formal certification to teach bilingual education in elementary schools in Pennsylvania, so finding folks is hard."
This revitalizing effort to engage the diverse student population across the city highlights the need for also hiring diverse teachers within those same schools. That is what brought Lukov to the career fair.
"[We're] trying to turn over every rock and open every drawer and hopefully find some qualified applicants,” he said.
As the leading health insurance provider of the Greater Philadelphia region, Independence Blue Cross serves a diverse range of people. For that reason, Independence also aims to make diverse hires in their departments, as well.
“We want to make sure that we’re attracting and retaining talent that’s diverse and supports our diversity and inclusion efforts at Independence,” Gabrielle Manturi, Talent Acquisition Specialist at Independence Blue Cross, said during the fair.
One of the company’s efforts in retaining their diverse talent was the implementation of associate resource groups, which highlights the many communities that make up their diverse staff. Some of those diverse communities include Latinos, multicultural men, independent women, and LGBTQ.
“With those efforts, we are able to bring together individuals all across our organization, so individuals that maybe don’t work one-on-one with each other within the work environment, they’re able to build those relationships on something that they feel strongly about,” Manturi added.
The organization's focus on diversity doesn't just stop there.
Alissa Chessario, talent acquisition partner at Independence, said the focus on diversity within the organization is to the point it is now added to their list of corporate values. To goal is for that focus on diversity to produce measurable results, which ties into one of the other values of the organization.
“They just kind of feed into that effort, and we’re always looking to do more because one of our other values is innovation,” she said. “Innovating new ways, branching out in new ways to make that effort bigger and show bigger and better results year [after] year.”
"We want to make sure we’re bringing individuals in that have different levels of experience, different skill sets that they can bring to the table that can support our culture and bring a stronger talent pool to our organization,” said Manturi.
In order for organizations to make the necessary efforts to get the diversity of the workforce to more closely resemble the diversity of the population, the approach has to be one where the results are measurable.
"We [as a society] have to push it a step further," Chessario said. "We have to create reasonable goals, and work towards them and continuously get better."
The Philadelphia region's U.S. Census Bureau was another exhibitor at the career fair. With the mission of serving as the nation's leading provider of quality data about its people and economy, their attendance was crucial.
The diverse people of the U.S. are the most important component of the Census being able to bring their mission to life, which they highlighted, with their mass job opportunities of 568,000 across nine states. Filling those positions with diverse people is the key.
“We are diverse in every position within our 1601 Market office,” Dwayne Burton, recruitment coordinator at the Philadelphia region U.S. Census Bureau, said. “And we’re making sure that we’re hiring diverse candidates for all of our locations throughout our nine states.”
In a recent projection by the Census Bureau, it was stated that current “racial minorities” within the U.S. will no longer be so by 2050.
Neftali Ramos, of the Census, said that businesses will have to adapt to that dynamic moving forward, if they are to succeed. He added that this adaptation will produce more language skills and bring more people together and better understand different cultures.
“I think diversity, in general, is just a great thing for this country, and it’s one of the things that make us one of the greatest countries in the world,” said Ramos. “People coming together and working for a common goal.”
The need for a diverse workforce is paramount, and for the more than 100 different representatives in attendance at the career fair, that need was on full display.