Alliance for Regional Diversity Announces 2022 Lineup | News

Northeast Tennessee and southwestern Virginia are “much less diverse” than other parts of the southeastern United States – a fact that a local nonprofit says may have implications. important implications for economic development.

“Our racial demographics show that we’re not very diverse,” said Chris Dagenhart, vice president of the Alliance for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Florida. Virginia. “We are losing young people quickly and we have a higher loss rate than our entry rate.”

As soon as people graduate from college, they leave, Dagenhart said, which applies to people born here and those who moved here for school.

“A younger population is drawn to a field that is a better practitioner of diversity, equity and inclusion,” he said. “So we’re trying to change direction.”

Overall, Dagenhart said, the local business community recognizes this can be a significant handicap when it comes to recruiting top talent, and the DEI Alliance hopes to play a role in addressing these issues.

The organization recently announced its upcoming lineup for 2022, which will include a May 5 summit at the MeadowView Conference Resort & Convention Center in Kingsport. They also plan to relaunch a regional directory of businesses that have committed to the core principles of diversity, equity and inclusion.

The target audience for the event in Kingsport, called “DEI Summit 2022: Regional Call to Action”, will consist of business executives, human resources professionals, leaders of non-profit organisations, executives health and other community actors.

“It’s really a community call-to-action meeting to start a dialogue and start building some connectivity between organizations and start talking about best practices,” Dagenhart said.

The half-day event will begin at 8 a.m. with a breakfast followed by a series of speakers, a panel discussion and a lunch program. Registration will cost $45 per person at the regular rate and $30 per person at the “early bird” rate, which is available until April 8.

The SAFE program, an acronym for “supporting acceptance for all,” will be an online registry of companies that are committed to creating more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces.

The principles include creating a welcoming environment for people from different backgrounds, enforcing a zero-tolerance policy towards bullying, and learning about the “diversity of people’s experiences and perspectives”. others”.

After completing the pledge, business owners will receive a SAFE sticker to display in their store and a digital marketing toolkit.

According to the DEI Alliance, multiple studies show that strategies related to diversity, equity and inclusion promote economic development. In contrast, a lack of diversity slows growth.

Asheville, North Carolina, and Greenville, South Carolina, for example, have minority populations of 22.1% and 32.7% respectively, according to the alliance. Johnson City has a minority population of 17.8%, Kingsport a population of 10.1%, and Bristol, Tennessee, a population of 9.1%.

The alliance started informally in 2015 with a group of community leaders. More people eventually embraced the idea, Dagenhart said, and realizing it needed to focus more intentionally on diversity issues, the group eventually opted to incorporate as a nonprofit.

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