Earlier this year, Diversity Focus conducted the 2015 Eastern Iowa Community Survey to gauge the community’s perceptions of diversity and inclusion, as well as its experiences in respect to those areas.
After sorting through the data, we have discovered important information that will drive the work we do moving forward.
In Education, we found that discrimination in schools is trending down; however, non-whites reported much higher experiences with discrimination. Most notably, community members described an unmet desire for more diversity among teachers, as well as better accommodations for students with disabilities.
“It is our hope that the Creative Corridor Center for Equity (C3E), co-founded by Diversity Focus, will address many of the disparities that impact our region,” says Circe Stumbo, Board Vice Chairperson.
In Employment, respondents placed a significant importance on diversity in the workplace, but Diversity Focus found that desire too was largely unmet.
“The Employee Resource Group Consortium (ERGC) is committed to partnering with Diversity Focus to address many of the concerns regarding diversity and inclusion in the workplace,” says Anne Carter, Diversity Focus Board member and Chairperson of the ERGC.
In Government & Economic Development, respondents expressed a desire to see more diversity among community leaders. This statistic is important if people from all backgrounds are going to feel connected to and well represented in their communities.
In Wellbeing, the survey also found that ethnic minorities experienced higher levels of discrimination than whites in retail settings, at a store, with law enforcement, and with neighbors, among several other community settings.
“We have made a lot of progress in changing perceptions toward diversity, which is having a real impact on people’s quality of life here,” said Chad Simmons, Diversity Focus President & CEO. “However, these results show us some key opportunity areas to further Diversity Focus’ impact on our community over the next several years."
The full survey results as well as an executive summary can be found by clicking here or the image below.
(Diversity Focus conducted similar surveys in 2008 and 2013, which act as benchmarks for this year’s findings.)