Local and State
VISIONS has wide experience implementing both short and long term projects for small towns and cities, and for various constituencies in local and state government. By involving diverse teams of consultants and multiple forms of intervention, we strive for change and transformation in the area of race and social justice. The approaches which our consultants use address many concepts such as a comprehensive understanding of oppression, anti-racism, diversity, multiculturalism, and change processes including healing and reconciliation.
Cities who have benefited from VISIONS support typically have had a history of difficult relations across race. That history includes generational problems with racial profiling and police brutality, long standing EEO complaints in the police department, problems with racial violence, and racially polarized voting on the current city council. The work force is often very segregated, with a pattern of few persons of color in management, and a concentration of persons of color in lower level jobs in solid waste, parks, maintenance, etc.
Interventions can involve any or all of the following steps:
(a) Initial training with the organizational leadership team and an employee task force, designed to:
• to introduce the multiculturalism change model, and
• to enroll and equip allies with a common language and model for problem solving as we move forward.
(b) An assessment process involving focus groups with a wide sample of employees, and review of other available organizational data relevant to the assessment, e.g. annual employee surveys, summaries of grievances and employee complaints. A report on the findings and recommendations is then presented first to the leadership team, and then to the participants in sessions open to all employees.
(c) If a large number of employees need to be trained, and if there is a desire to develop internal resources to lead and continue the effort, a train-the-trainer process may be selected. In other cases, VISIONS offers workshops, consultation, coaching and technical assistance designed for the needs of the particular government entity.
Accomplishments can include:
- creating a safe, non-blaming environment for the sharing of information about the work culture;
- a continuing core of employees trained intensively in this model who can be internal leaders for change;
- a leadership team who understands the language and strategies of multicultural change at the personal, interpersonal, cultural and organizational level and who have included multiculturalism and diversity as a regular part of their leadership agenda along side budget, efficiency, headcount, program and services, etc.;
- a need recognized by the city to hire an effective and experienced training professional, primarily to lead this effort, and who adds extensive value to the overall training focus; and
- change in key positions as needed
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