DEI at JFS: A Finalized Equity Plan and the Next Phase
September 30, 2022
Dear JFS Family,
On Wednesday, members of the JFS Core Team, Priority Area Workgroups, Section Chiefs, and the Executive Team participated in a retreat that represented the culmination of years of internal work with our partners from Intersections on how to make the agency more equitable in how we work and serve. The goal of the retreat was to review DEI recommendations made by priority area workgroups, finalize the Equity Plan, and begin the process of prioritizing and planning the implementation of those recommendations.
There were close to 40 recommendations offered by the five priority area workgroups. The recommendations fell into five general themes:
- Equitable Policies – Talia Bryan
- Safe Spaces – Margie Weaver
- Training and Professional Development – Jim Tinker
- Accountability – Monica Saylor
- Engagement – Melissa Graves
I have asked each Assistant Director to act as lead conveners and facilitators for each of these areas and to work within their group to identify recommendations and actions that can be implemented in the next 12 months. The goal is to ensure that we are working the plan and implementing strategies that will move us closer to the commitments reflected in our Culture Statement:
JFS Culture Statement
The Culture Statement, developed by the Equity Core Team, serves as an aspirational statement and a guide for our agency as we fully implement the recommendations contained in this plan. This is a marked shift reflecting how staff will feel in all interactions.
At Hamilton County Job & Family Services, our most valuable resource is our employees: their backgrounds, ideas, voices and life experiences.
We invest in our employees by equipping them with the skills to pursue personal and professional growth and the support to flourish and maintain a safe, healthy work-life balance.
A positive approach that values diversity, equity, and inclusion where employees are trusted and respected, leading to genuine and supportive relationships through intentional, transparent communication and action at all levels of the organization.
This work will not end after one year. We will continue to review and implement recommendations outlined in the Equity Plan as part of an ongoing commitment to making our organization more equitable.
Finally, as I stated in my note on page 3 of the Equity Plan:
“This will not be perfect. We will have some setbacks. We might also have disagreements along the way. But I am asking everyone to be willing to listen, learn and have uncomfortable conversations, while being respectful and constructive in all our interactions. This work is not a destination. It is a way of living. “
If you are interested in learning more about any of the groups above, please reach out to Tiwana Henderson at Tiwana.Henderson@jfs.ohio.gov and she can connect you to the Assistant Director facilitating that group.
Director, Hamilton County Job and Family Services