Wyandanch, NY – A resolution introduced by Suffolk County Legislator Jason Richberg requiring annual diversity and inclusion training for all county employees was unanimously approved by the Suffolk County Legislature at its general meeting on July 21.
IR1554, “Requiring diversity and inclusion training for all County employees annually,” requires that all Suffolk County employees attend and pass a mandatory diversity, inclusion, and bias course each year on issues facing people in the workforce relating to diversity and inclusion, including when interacting with the public. The content will be developed by the Suffolk County Department of Human Resources, Personnel, and Civil Service in collaboration with the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission. An additional component will cover implicit bias and ways to reduce such bias in the workplace. Managers will train in person while other employees will complete the training online.
“Diversity and inclusion is part of the fabric of American society,” said Legislator Richberg. “As a country, we are not a monolith, we are a mosaic. We are not all tall, or able, or the same. We are all different, and those differences should be celebrated, not tolerated. The basis for all communication is respect. We are a county of 1.5 million people with diverse backgrounds, and in order to communicate with each other effectively, we need to learn how to respect and accept our differences.”
“Amplifying our efforts to promote diversity and inclusion has been a shared priority of the legislature and the administration this year,” said Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer Rob Calarco. “Educating our employees on these important issues as well as on how to recognize implicit bias will increase awareness among the county workforce, cultivating more understanding colleagues and public servants. Any step we can take to reduce bias is a step worth taking.”
“The passing of this legislation is an important step on the County’s journey towards equity and fairness,” said Suffolk County Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Retha Fernandez. “Suffolk County training in diversity, inclusion, and anti-bias will offer our employees the opportunity to learn more about themselves, their shared lived experiences and to respect and appreciate differences. The collaboration with the Department of Human Resources, Personnel, and Civil Service, the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission, and the sponsorship of Legislator Richberg to deliver this training, helps ensure our dedicated public servants are equipped to deliver extraordinary public service to our residents helping to build equitable communities and a thriving county.”