I’ve been hearing the word “legacy” from business leaders a lot lately. While some believe legacy has to do with the projects and products left behind after they die, others believe leaving a legacy has more to do with the lessons and values they instill in others that will live on after they are gone from this earth. In honor of Black History Month, you may want to consider another perspective. Your legacy can also be the impact or positive change you impart during your time on this planet.
One area in need of a change, across the board and in the manufacturing industry in particular, is diversity. Diverse organizations, having employees from a mix of backgrounds, ethnicities, ages, gender identifications, and races have higher creativity, broader perspectives, access to a larger talent pool, and better reflect the communities and customers they serve.
The many roadblocks people of color encounter in the manufacturing industry are real. Examples include Black and other minority business owners trying to hide their race on company websites to avoid bias, job seekers experiencing everything from blatant racism to less obvious discrimination, microaggression being tolerated in the workplace, and companies not creating an inclusive environment that could open the doors for a more diverse workforce.
Making the industry more diverse and eliminating these issues will not happen without direct efforts. All of us have the opportunity to be role model champions for diversity. It’s time for people at all levels in the industry to step up and lead the way in this area. Not sure where to start? Keep reading.
Rather than focusing this article on any one solution to address the lack of diversity, the following is a summary of resources that you can utilize to intentionally ensure your legacy includes making an impact in the lives of people of color within the Central New York manufacturing landscape.
- How to Include more People of Color in Management SME
- Ways to Get More People of Color into Management SME
- Three Ways to Attract and Retain Diverse Workers SME
Local Organizations to Consider Joining or Supporting:
- Upstate Minority Economic Alliance: www.upstatemea.com
- The Creator’s Lounge Co-working space: www.thecreatorslounge.net
- MACNY’s Workforce Development and Partners for Education & Business initiatives: https://www.macny.org/skilled-workforce/
- The next time you need a service provided, consider interviewing Black-owned businesses. You can search them on websites like UMEA (listed above) or Onondaga Community College.
- Don’t go it alone. Here are some resources available that you can share with your organization to encourage them to join you in making the workplace a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
- Take the CenterState CEO Business Equity pledge: https://www.centerstateceoequity.com/take-the-pledge
- Participate in a challenge like this one from the YMCA or a local one hosted by the United Way
- Create a custom challenge for your workforce (contact me for more details)
- Adopt Juneteenth as the nationally recognized and New York state recognized holiday that it is and host educational events or community outreach in observance of it. Click here to learn more about observing Juneteenth as a community.
- Launch a DEIA (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility) task force in your organization to create a DEIA strategic plan. See Syracuse University’s plan for an example.
If you have relevant resources, programs, or links to add to these lists, send a message to [email protected].
Laura Thorne specializes in strategy, execution, and personal development through workshops, coaching, and other services. Learn more about Laura’s consulting partnership with MACNY at www.laurathorneconsulting.com/MACNY and if you would like to suggest an article topic or make a comment, email [email protected].