Diversity Efforts at the City of Springfield

Handshake with a Caucasian hand and a brown hand.

Human Resources:

Diversity Internship Scholarship Program
This program was launched in February 2013 with the goal of increasing strategic relationships with diverse job candidates. The City is committed to diversity and part of this commitment includes attracting diverse individuals to careers in municipal government for the betterment of the organization and community at-large. Diversity internships will provide an opportunity for the City to meet and build relationships with promising students who desire a career in municipal government or a career area offered by the City. In addition, the program will enable college and graduate students to enhance their academic course work, create a network of contacts, and gain valuable on-the-job experience and exposure needed in pursuing their careers. Currently the program offers at least two internships per fiscal year. To date, five interns have been hired, and two have been hired into full-time positions with the City.

Attendance at Multicultural Festival
Sponsored by Unite of Southwest Missouri for over a decade, the free festival takes place each January at Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts on the Missouri State University campus. The festival combines cultural entertainment and practical opportunities, such as a networking expo about education, jobs and health care opportunities.

Reaching out to diverse audiences when marketing employment opportunities
HR reaches out to diverse audiences to communicate employment opportunities by advertising in Unite of Southwest Missouri’s publication and by mailing job postings to diverse community groups and leaders, as well as the Missouri Career Center and local universities. Interview questions and job descriptions incorporate diversity and inclusion elements. 

Diversity training
HR includes a diversity education component in its Welcome to the City employee orientation program and in its customer service training. External diversity training is funded and supported for programs such as the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s Facing Racism program, a two-day program conducted by a consortium of trainers from Missouri State University, Drury University, and Springfield Public Schools; Society for Human Resource Management diversity conferences; MSU’s Statewide Collaborative Diversity Conference. Additionally, HR’s Performance Management program, incorporates diversity and inclusion elements.

Diversity education
HR includes a regular column about diversity topics in its monthly SCENE employee newsletter. HR also subscribes to the Diversity BLEND newsletter as well as Insight and Diversity, Inc., Web sites and online publications.

Springfield-Greene County Park Board:

Special events
The Springfield-Greene County Park Board partners with the NAACP for the Juneteenth celebration; with the Springfield Reunion Club for the Park Day Reunion; with Springfield Sister Cities Association for the Cherry Blossom Kite Festival, Sister Cities Fiesta and Japanese Fall Festival. All of these celebrations take place in and are staffed by Parks. There are some Native American elements of Bass Pro’s annual Outdoor Days at Lake Springfield Park.

Culturally and historically significant parks and greenways
Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden is an extension of the Sister Cities mission. Silver Springs Park is a historically significant park for the Springfield African-American community. Ozark Greenways has worked with the Trail of Tears group to map and install portions of greenways on the Trail of Tears route. 

Accessible and age-inclusive programs
Parks serves adults and youth with disabilities through our Accessible Recreation Program, including Miracle League. Parks partners with SWMO Office on Aging to offer robust senior citizen programs at Northview Center. SWMOA also operates the Ray Kelly Southside Senior Center.

Purchasing:

Contracting and procurement diversity guidelines developed to ensure level playing field
In 2011, representatives from the City of Springfield, City Utilities, Drury University, Greene County, Minorities in Business, Missouri State University, Ozarks Technical Community College, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Springfield Public Schools, and Springfield-Greene County Library District worked collaboratively to develop agreed-upon “diversity guidelines” in the areas of procurement/contracting and employee recruitment/hiring.

The intent of the guidelines are to:

  • Create a “level playing field” that will provide certified DBE, MBE, and WBE businesses with equal opportunity to participate in all aspects of the City’s contracting and procurement programs, including, but not limited to, participation in procurement contracts for equipment, materials, services, supplies, and the construction, renovation, or repair of facilities and equipment.
  • Widen opportunities for vendor participation, to increase competition, and to reduce costs to the City and its citizens.
  • Provide information or other opportunities to certified DBE, MBE, and WBE that may also be available to all other business enterprises.

The guidelines include:

  • Availability in the Purchasing Division for review.
  • Availability of Purchasing staff to provide individual assistance to disadvantaged businesses and was successful in holding a “How to Do Business" workshop in 2013.
  • Tracking minority expenditures for benchmarking progress.

Workforce Development:

Special events

The Missouri Career Center partnered with Drury Scholars Program Coordinator Francene Pratt to host a meet-and-greet event for diverse college students in March. This event’s purpose was to provide networking opportunities for the students and area employers. Employers present included Springfield Public Schools, BKD, CU, City of Springfield, Bank of America, CoxHealth, Mercy, Cintas, Buckhorn, Inc., Chase, Commerce Bank, Arvest Bank, Greene County, Bass Pro, and John Deere.

The Career Center is currently in the process of hosting a Lunch and Learn event for workers with disabilities.

Hiring
The Career Center is hiring a graduating student from MSU’s multicultural program, and Director Mary Ann Rojas recently spoke at the program’s commencement ceremony.

City Utilities:

Sponsorship
  • Sponsored RACE, Are We So Different (exhibit at the Discovery Center).
  • Committee sponsored a utility fundraiser for “Wish I May” with a “Taste of the World” luncheon.
  • Participated in the Multicultural Festival at Hammons. (2014 and 2015)
  • Sponsored a booth at the Juneteenth Celebration and the local Greene County Library Block Party.
Diversity Training/Awareness
  • Online mandatory “Diversity” training was administered to all CU employees in March 2014
  • Diversity educational questions are included on the “Diversity Corner” in ENEWS (CU weekly online letter sent to all employees) and also added to internal monitors located in outlying areas.
  • CU Power Web (Intranet) includes “Diversity” question and “Diversity Focus.”
  • A “Diversity Focus and Spotlight” was added to the quarterly CU@Work employee magazine.
  • Met with OTC representative to discuss Diversity opportunities with their certificate programs.
  • Attended the Statewide Diversity Collaborative Conference.
  • Attended the International Banquet at MSU in November 2014.
Recruitment 
  • Joined with MSU on a Dual Career Program for spouses.
  • Job descriptions include language that requires an applicant to have the ability to work successfully with diverse groups of people.
  • Diversity Committee members attended the Multicultural Festival.
  • Utilizing strategic diversity advertising regarding CU employment opportunities through UNITE publication and minority organizations and associations. 
  • We partnered with the Missouri Career Center to host a meet-and-greet event for diverse college students in March 2014.
Planned for 2015
  • The committee will be hosting another “Taste of Diversity” event this year.
  • There will be a Diversity booth at the CU employee picnic this year.
  • Diversity Committee plans to host a “Lunch and Learn” this summer at different locations to raise diversity awareness. 
  • Sponsoring a booth at the Springfield Public Schools Multicultural Fair for ELL students.
  • Incorporating Disability and Veteran education into our Diversity Awareness program.