Spokane has become a thriving City, thanks in large part to dedicated employees. City employees do everything from plan and maintain parks to clean water before it enters the Spokane River. Employees maintain a Municipal Court system, improve the drivability of City streets, and serve as the Fire and Police forces.
From its outset, One Spokane’s aim has been to help the City develop a 21st Century Workforce – jobs that provide a high quality of life for workers, as well as have a meaningful impact in the community. Of ongoing efforts in the City’s hiring practices, Christine Cavanaugh, the City of Spokane HR Director, says, “We must also ensure our workforce reflects the population of our community.”
A significant milestone to diversify the City’s workforce was the establishment of the Supported Employment program. Started in 2019, the Supported Employment program introduced viable options to individuals with developmental disabilities to enter the City’s workforce. The ongoing program has reached out through partnerships to eliminate barriers to meaningful employment.
The 21st Century Task Force, which consists of representatives from many of the community’s diverse groups, has been instrumental in guiding City efforts to promote a workplace culture that is welcoming to all. Working to update policy and investigation protocol, establishing nursing rooms in City facilities, and promoting wellness initiatives for City employees has been ongoing since 2016. The forward-thinking efforts will continue into 2020 with plans to add additional diversity and wellness initiatives.
Chief among the City’s plan to increase diversity is the review by stakeholders and rollout of the Diversity Strategic Plan, authored by Dr. Shari Clarke of SJC Cultural Consultant and Associates, LLC. Dr. Clarke is also the Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion at EWU and has served on the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Multicultural Affairs and the YWCA Board of Directors. The Plan, prepared at the request of Mayor Condon’s Administration, defines five goals, each with action steps, over a three-year timeline. An initial step will be completing Goal #2 – creating a Director of Diversity position for the City of Spokane. Proposed in the 2020 budget, the incumbent will implement the Action Steps outlined in the Diversity Strategic Plan.