DEED's Racial Equity Commitments: Increase Outreach and Engagement
April 19, 2022
At the end of March, we introduced the Department of Employment and Economic Development’s (DEED) racial equity commitments in the first blog of a five-part series. Our five racial equity commitments are:
• Drive dollars to targeted communities. As an agency that grants millions of dollars per year to help grow the economy, where our money goes is an expression of what Minnesota values.
• Increase outreach and engagement. We can’t expect communities to just come to us – we have to be in communities ourselves, so that everyone is aware of our programs and opportunities.
• Reform programs to address systemic barriers. Some of our programs or processes have designs that prevent communities of color from accessing them as easily – we must change that.
• Make equity everyone's job. Driving racial equity isn’t just one team’s job – it should be every team’s job at DEED.
• Change from the inside out. If our culture at DEED is one in which people of color feel seen and valued – and can bring their authentic selves to work – and if all levels of our team reflect the communities we seek to serve, then we’ll do better for all Minnesotans.
In this second blog in the series, we’re sharing progress on our second commitment: increase outreach and engagement.
In 2019, DEED workforce development leaders started with a listening tour – traveling more than 1300 miles across the state to visit CareerForce locations and meet with local communities to understand their experiences with the agency. DEED leaders believe that leadership is rooted in listening, and each year DEED has continued community engagement sessions to ensure our programs are meeting the needs of communities.
DEED recognizes that reducing racial disparities in the workforce requires a dramatic increase in relationship building, outreach, and engagement across the state. For this new effort, the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) shifted focus to take on an increased external role of community engagement and an internal role supporting DEED staff in meeting their equity goals. The OEO consists of a director, the American Indian Tribal Liaison, and a newly created position of a Community Services & Government Relations Coordinator. Additionally, following an Executive Order by Governor Walz and a new law passed during the 2021 Legislative Session, DEED is required to consult with Minnesota’s 11 federally-recognized American Indian nations.
In 2020, we added a new Assistant Commissioner for Immigrant and Refugee Affairs and for the last three years, DEED programs have made language access a priority and increased the availability of translated materials that describe and promote DEED services.
Read the full blog to learn more about our efforts and ongoing commitment to racial equity, including some of our accomplishments.