New tool aims to tackle gaps in workforce leadership diversity – Times Union


The New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals (NYATEP) is offering a tool to survey and help address workforce inequities statewide. 
The Statewide Workforce Equity Analysis Tool, SWEAT for short, is a survey aimed at developing baseline data to identify the number of leaders of color in the statewide workforce development system, identity those on workforce development boards and gauge how many are engaged in diversity, equity and inclusion training or implemented them into practice, according to a press release. 
The tool is available to organizations in both the public and private spheres providing direct services to New Yorkers surrounding employment, job training and workforce education. 
SWEAT was conceived after NYATEP and an advisory committee composed of leaders of color realized the state was missing a comprehensive data set presenting diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in workforce development. The association collaborated with Tangible Development, based in Latham, to produce the tool.
“It’s functioning more as a scan to really deeply look at what’s happening within workforce organizations,” NYATEP Deputy Director Evelyn Ortiz said. 
According to Ortiz, the New York workforce system serves something over a million people each year, most of whom identify as Black or indigenous people of color. The sector also employs thousands with roughly $1 billion it receives from federal, state and local funds.
Ortiz said, anecdotally, NYATEP has come to know a couple of things. First, there are 33 local workforce development boards across the state that oversee about $400 million in federal workforce money. Second, there are currently only four leaders of color holding leadership positions that the association knows of. 
“The leadership is not reflective of the diverse populations that the workforce system represents,” she said.
NYATEP hopes to put out a second survey next year to gauge the state’s progress and use this information to pinpoint equity gaps along the lines of race and gender, understand how people advance within organizations and ultimately, create a sectoral strategy to help curb systemic racism in New York, the release stated. 
“We call it SWEAT because this type of work, when it relates to equity, we know takes time and a lot of work,” Ortiz said. “The goal here is that we definitely have to come together to try to figure out ways that we could, you know, make our workplaces more equitable.” 
Shayla Colon is a Native New Yorker who previously worked for Hearst CT Media. She now covers business news for the Albany Times Union. When she’s not reporting, find her working out or tucked away in a corner with a book, preferably Hemingway or Fitzgerald.



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