In the Daily News today, Nicholas Scoppetta talks about his efforts in increasing minority counts among New York City's firefighters. Addressing last week's ruling in the New Haven firefighters' case, Mr. Scoppetta puts forth a model that succeeded in increasing minority counts in the City's firefighting department. His plan is simple and can be used as a base model for any employer looking to address workplace diversity, especially in the executive ranks.
The main points from his editorial:
- Make people aware of the opportunity: For city and state agencies, this can be done several ways: Mass mailings, flyers, pamphelts, community centers, voicemails, etc. For corporate America, this can take the shape of staff emails, lunch-n-meet groups, informal discussions and mentoring.
- Ensure that everyone gets the same tutoring/advising: While the fire commissioner elaborates on how all potential test-takers are given extensive free tutoring; in non-testing taking situations, this can be replaced by advisement, mentoring, reviews and open door Q&A opportunities for everyone who wants to take a shot at the promotion/new position/etc.
His advice talks of a simple ground rule that has to be in place at all employers, big or small, for diversity to work: Equal Opportunity. For the City's fire department, these simple measures ensured that 38% of the total test-takers were minorities with 33% occupying the highest scores, with a third of the probationary firefighter class last December comprising of minorities.
It's a simple model, and in today's world of reverse discrimination rants, might just be the best way to continue working toward ensuring equal employment.
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