Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).
Session 17A: Leadership, Social Equity and Workforce Development: Social Equity
1:15pm - 2:45pm
Session Chair: Katie Dillon, HDR;
1:15pm - 2:00pm
Concrete Steps in the Employee Hiring Process to Diversify Your Workforce
Steve Hamai, Ellen Stewart
Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle, WA; ,
Many utilities struggle to hire and retain people of color, especially in planning and technical-tract jobs. While factors like marketplace, cost of living, salary scales, and a limited pool of ‘qualified’ candidates can play critical roles in who ends up working at your utility, there are steps one can take to diversify the workforce. Staff at Seattle Public Utilities have begun to proactively address this issue, and this workshop will consist of a presentation and an interactive exercise so that attendees walk away with actions they can take to begin addressing this issue. Workshop highlights include:
Understanding your employee baseline
Identifying your goals; what is the make up of your community vs your staff?
Identifying barriers to racial diversity in drainage and waste water related professions
The benefits of a racially diverse workforce (internal to your organization and external to your community)
Making the case for candidates with strong interpersonal skills and cultural knowledge
Examining hiring steps A-Z, where is the opportunity?
What’s my bandwidth to amend a hiring process?
Examples of changes within SPU
SPU outcomes and lessons learned – what else can I do, what else should I be thinking about?
As a goal we hope to inspire workshop attendees to take actionable steps within their hiring processes so that more people of color are drawn into the full array of drainage and waste water professions.
2:00pm - 2:45pm
Osborn Consulting: A Case Study for Diversity Inclusion Strategies
Osborn Consulting, Inc.;
Setting and achieving inclusion goals on public works projects is a challenge. Our industry’s commitment to diversity and inclusion has led to increasingly collaborative and creative teams combining varied perspectives and backgrounds in order to conceive, design, and construct innovative projects.
In 2010, Osborn Consulting, a women-owned, Seattle-area, civil engineering small business, was comprised of four engineers. Seattle Public Utilities’ (SPU) WMBE Program allowed for new opportunities to market their services to prime consultants who were now required to include WMBE firms on their project teams. Using the program as a stepping stone to demonstrate the firm’s qualifications to SPU and prime consultants, Osborn Consulting has found success in developing an internal business model of inclusion and diversity that has impacted the strategic growth of the firm since 2010 to a firm of over 40 team members today.
Osborn Consulting’s story of growth alongside the growing, successful WMBE program at SPU highlights the success of agencies with an entrenched understanding of the value that diversity provides. SPU and Osborn Consulting recognize inclusion goals as a way to stimulate creative solutions and evaluate designs from unique perspectives; a commitment to inclusion that goes beyond a plan in a proposal and supports overall commitment to finding the best solutions.
This presentation will provide tangible ways that public agencies and consultant firms can integrate inclusion strategies into their business models and day-to-day operations. The unique history of Osborn Consulting and how WMBE inclusion has played a key role in the firm’s success over the last 15 years serves as a case study for the value of diversity and inclusion in our industry.