For more than a decade, Umoja has provided customized diversity trainings for schools, business, and non-profit and government agencies. Our training format and process was strongly influenced by work with several national diversity organizations, including Todos and the Oakland Men’s Project.
Umoja trainings help participants explore the sources and impact of their prejudices and consider ways to change them. They help organizations develop work environments where employees treat each other as individuals who deserve respect and dignity.
Interactive: builds understanding through experiential exercises, discussions, and small group activities.
Introspective: allows participants to examine their own biases in a safe, non-blaming setting.
Educational: addresses assumptions about people different than us.
Practical: offers solutions to workplace discrimination and conflict issues based on race, gender, age, status, religion, sexual orientation, and disability.
4-hour: This introductory workshop helps staff interact more effectively by exploring stereotyped judgments and by cultivating an understanding of different perspectives. Opens a dialogue about problems which may be present.
8-hour: Because learned fear inhibits open dialogue about diversity issues, additional time allows movement past problems to solutions.
Multi-day: This comprehensive format allows staff to delve into creating the long-term attitude change necessary to prevent future discriminatory issues in the workplace.
Keynote address: A customized one-hour lecture that introduces the complexity of diversity issues, and inspires listeners to look at their biases.
- Builds relationships that allow people of diverse backgrounds and experience to work together effectively.
- Saves lost business revenue from poor productivity, absenteeism, rehiring and retraining, image refurbishment, and potential lawsuits that threaten work environments where employers fail to address discrimination.
- Creates a learning environment where fear and conflict give way to open communication and positive collaboration.
- Teaches skills crucial for interacting with diverse peoples.
As the 21st century progresses, American workforce diversity will continue to increase as women, minorities, immigrants, and older workers replace young, white males as new entrants (Hudson Institute, 1997). By 2050, minority groups will make up half the United States’ population (U.S. Department of Labor, 2006). To remain competitive and productive, organizations in all sectors must take steps to create productive collaboration and prevent potential conflicts and discriminatory claims.
Since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 precluded discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, employment related discrimination lawsuits have climbed more than 100 percent each decade (Hicks, 2006). Many other workers seek recompense through state or federal anti-discrimination agencies. In FY 2006, the Utah Anti-Discrimination and Labor Division accepted 1,482 charges of employment discrimination and collected $1,460,917 for complainants.
Most issues start small, and the cost of addressing them depends on an organization’s pro-activeness. Waiting until problems erupt costs orders of magnitude more than prevention:
- Federal Government: $508 M settlement for a sex discrimination suit against the now-defunct U.S. Information Agency.
- Texaco: $176 M settlement in a racial discrimination class action suit.
- Abercrombie & Fitch: $50 M in punitive damages for discriminatory hiring practices.
- Lucky Stores: $95 M in punitive damages for a sex discrimination class action suit.
- NASA: $3.75 M settlement for racial discrimination in hiring practices.
- J.C. Penney: $1 M settlement for perpetuating a racially hostile work environment.