Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

By Anisa Hajimumin
Immigrant and Refugee Affairs 

June's Immigrant and Refugees Affair Forum: Equity and Inclusion Efforts in State Government

 


At this month’s forum, speakers shared information and resources for immigrant and refugee community members. This included equity and inclusion efforts in state agencies, an overview of the Sustainable Development Goals Initiative, and information on Frontline Worker Pay applications.

Enterprise-Wide Equity and Inclusion Efforts

Chris Taylor, Assistant Commissioner and Chief Inclusion Officer for the State of Minnesota, shared some of the work being done to create more equitable cultures at Minnesota’s state agencies to better serve a more diverse population. The work doesn’t focus on any specific group, but is working to understand how racism, sexism, and homophobia are built into organizational norms and then developing approaches to change those norms.

Their success is based on the retention of staff who identify as people of color, staff with disabilities, Native Americans, veterans, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. They look to see how people are being treated with respect and if people’s cultural backgrounds are honored and respected. The outcomes they pay attention to include who is leaving and who is staying, the various communities that are represented, and who is in leadership positions. They also do exit interviews to see why people are leaving.

People tend to leave their jobs because they don’t feel engaged and they don’t feel like they’re going to advance in their careers -- so Taylor’s team tries to reverse those trends. A few things they’re doing is using intercultural competence so that people have opportunities to grow their capabilities of working with people from different backgrounds than themselves. It’s a way to shift power dynamics to help people feel engaged and valued as well as minimize microaggressions or overt instances of racism.

They’ve also made a big push to use Intercultural Assessments, for which they train staff internally to administer to agencies. They’re also trying to diversify the state government’s leadership programs. His team has also been working to change the criteria for candidate selections so they’re as accessible as possible to all people. One big step forward is requiring Cabinet-level agencies to have equity change plans that they submit quarterly – they use these to analyze themes across the enterprise and see which agencies are working on similar action steps and how they might be able to support each other. All of this is ongoing work, and they hope to continue working on it under future administrations.

Community Updates

Frontline Worker Pay Applications Are Now Open

To thank Minnesotans who worked on the frontlines during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency, Gov. Tim Walz signed Frontline Worker Payments into law on April 29, 2022, enabling those workers to apply for Frontline Worker Pay. Applications are now being accepted through July 22, 2022. Anyone who thinks they might be eligible is encouraged to apply today.

Sustainable Development Goals Initiative

Katey Pelican and Karen Brown from the University of Minnesota shared their work on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how those goals can benefit all of Minnesota. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by all United Nations member states in 2015 as a 15-year plan for global sustainable development.

The framework includes 17 SDGs that provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, and drive efforts at local, national, and global partnership levels. The SDGs offer an inherently integrative and interdisciplinary approach highlighting linkages between ending poverty, improving health and education, and addressing climate change and other environmental degradation.

The University of Minnesota Sustainable Development Goals Initiative seeks to support and promote transdisciplinary research, teaching, and partnerships to mobilize the resources at the university to advance a more socially and environmentally sustainable future in Minnesota, the U.S., and the globe through grants, information, and opportunities linked to SDG targets and indicators.

New Hires at DEED

We heard brief introductions from DEED’s new Government Relations Coordinator, Nima Hussein, and CareerForce’s new Community Liaison, Sahil Masehullah. Welcome to DEED!

 

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