VENTURA, Calif. – On Tuesday, July 21, the Board of Supervisors received a report from the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and approved the creation of a full-time executive position for a Diversity and Inclusion Officer. The position, which will operate out of the Human Resources Department for the County Executive Office, will be tasked with driving engagement, strategy, execution and accountability for the County’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, as well as ensure equal employment opportunities. The position for the Diversity and Inclusion Officer was created at the recommendation of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force and the County Executive Officer.
“The tragic killing of George Floyd has significantly impacted our nation, our local community, and our County family has made substantial efforts to create meaningful changes that will have a lasting impact,” said Mike Powers, County Executive Officer. “The creation of the position for the Diversity and Inclusion Officer is one of the ways we can do so. In addition to increased workforce engagement, this position will help continue to ensure that all employees have a sense of safety, belonging, justice and equity regardless of race, gender, age, sexuality or other identities.”
The Diversity and Inclusion Task Force report detailed efforts to address issues of race and equity. In the report, the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force presented on the two first-of-its-kind employee town hall forums that were held on racism. Close to 900 employees participated via Zoom conference call. The town halls provided a safe forum where panelists and employees shared their life experiences with racism. Following the town halls, the Task Force pledged to continue these types of discussions to generate ideas and promote equity in the workplace and delivery of services. A video of the presentation that shares further initiatives and actions that are being taken can be viewed here:
Established in 2017 at the recommendation of the County Executive Officer and approved by the Board of Supervisors, the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force promotes equity, diversity, inclusion, unity, and equality both in the County workforce and in the delivery of services to the community. The 22-member committee, which is comprised of representatives from 11 agencies across the County, provides recommendations to leadership, reviews policies, and launches programs and initiatives intended to promote diversity and inclusion.
In addition to the recommendation and establishment of the position for the Diversity and Inclusion Officer, the Task Force will consider feedback received from the community and make recommendations regarding the County Seal, its use, and possible re-design. The task force is also credited with the creation of the County Mentorship Program, which has completed three cohorts and is preparing for a fourth.
As well, the Task Force has been instrumental in the development of mandatory Cultural Competency and Inclusion training, which also incorporates courses on awareness of the Disabilities, Access and Functional Needs Community as they have unique needs in the event of emergencies that may occur in the County. The Task Force has also established a diversity and inclusion library for employees, a workforce development program, and a form and forum to solicit ideas from County employees.