Workplace Diversity

Inclusive regions prosper. According to a new ACCE commissioned report, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION FOR THE 21ST CENTURY ECONOMY: An Imperative for Chambers of Commerce (Feb. 2017), cities and regions that embrace diversity do better economically. The report outlines the business case for why chambers need a strategy to leverage diversity and champion inclusion.

Creating a diverse workplace means adopting policies and practices that include people who have historically been absent from your organization. When a community has a diverse workforce, organizations can find the best talent for their business, regardless of personal characteristics or affiliations. “For companies, it's essential to see diversity and inclusion as an individual skill to acquire and a shared goal.” (Mashable) Diversity and inclusion is not something you can delegate, you need to acquire it yourself and lead others to do the same. Some motivations for businesses to seek diversity in their workers are:
  • a sense of social responsibility
  • as an economic payback
  • to hire the best people for the job who are available in the community
  • Equal Employment Opportunity or Affirmative Action mandates
  • as a marketing or communications strategy to customers
  • to more readily grow and change through unique perspectives brought by a diverse workforce.
Whatever the motivation, businesses that have a diverse workforce are at a distinct competitive advantage over those who do not. (Modified from Diversity World.)

Resources on Workplace Diversity

Training & Guides


Governmental Resources

  • Customized Employment - from Office of Disability Employment Policy part of the U.S. Department of Labor
  • Diversifying Your Workforce - A Four-Step Reference Guide to Recruiting, Hiring, & Retaining Employees with Disabilities from the U.S. Department of Labor (August 2013)
  • Return to Work Toolkit for Employees and Employers - This toolkit from the U.S. Department of Labor helps both employers and employees understand the return-to-work process and provides resources to assist in getting employees back on the job quickly and smoothly.
  • The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. The EEOC website provides up-to-date information and legislation for employers and employees related to equal opportunity employment and diversity issues.
  • The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Office of Diversity & Inclusion serves to provide Federal agencies concrete strategies and best practices to recruit, hire, include, develop, retain, engage and motivate a diverse, results-oriented, high-performing workforce. This Office provides reports, FAQ's, Reference Materials, and Workforce-at-a-Glance stats.

Convention & Seminar Resources

  • Think Tank: Promoting Disability Inclusion - Internship Flyer and Jobs Report from the ACCE 2017 Annual Convention in Nashville.
  • Thriving Together - Supporting Success for Underserved Populations - Session from ACCE's 2016 Annual Convention in Savannah. Presented by: Alicia Berhow, Vice President, Workforce Development & Advocacy, Orange County Business Council (CA); Jay Byers, CCE, IOM, CEO, Greater Des Moines Partnership (IA); Mary Stagaman, Senior Inclusion Advisor, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.

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Last Updated: 2/3/2018

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