nrvcs-diversity-trainers-june2015-web

NRVCS Diversity Trainers: Seated are (from left) Susan Hurst, Lucy McCandlish, Annie Dornberg and Katy Petak. Standing are Juan Polanco, Mike Wade, Melissa Jackson, Kat Saunders, Lauren Reed, Deborah Whitten-Williams, Kristy McMahan, Ross Wilsie and Eva Hudson. (Photo – James Pritchett/NRVCS)

Diversity.

Just mentioning this subject can cause even the most powerful of business executives to crawl under their desks.

Most of us think we know what “diversity” involves and how to appropriately respond when it becomes a point of discussion. But do we really understand diversity and how to manage it in the workplace?

NRVCS (New River Valley Community Services) first established an internal diversity training program in the fall of 2005, with the intent of providing high-quality diversity trainings to its employees on an annual basis. Working with a private consultant and officials from New River Community College, a select number of NRVCS employees were certified as diversity trainers. That team of trainers is now responsible for providing mandatory diversity trainings for the agency’s approximate 750 team members on an annual basis.

As part of their responsibilities, NRVCS trainers are also tasked with the creation and development of the actual trainings – each addressing a unique topic related to diversity. Over the past ten years, evaluations of these trainings have indicated a consistently high level of satisfaction among attendees.

“Some of our internal trainings have become so popular that we’ve been asked over the last few years to conduct them for other organizations and businesses in our community – and across the state,” noted Deborah Whitten-Williams, one of NRVCS’ diversity trainers and the agency’s Director of Financial & Administrative Support Services. “Our organization is deeply committed to cultural and linguistic competence and we take a great deal of pride in providing diversity trainings that allow for healthy and respectful dialogue, while encouraging participants to think beyond stereotypes and their own personal biases – which we all have.”

Each NRVCS diversity training lasts approximately three hours and is facilitated by a pair of certified trainers. Trainings currently available to the public, including businesses and non-profit organizations, include:

Diversity 101: A basic introduction to the subject of diversity and related issues. This is an interactive training that features discussion and exercises designed to foster greater awareness of diversity and its importance in the workplace/community.

From Boomers to Bloggers: For the first time in history, there are four generations in the workplace at the same time. Each of these age groups has different expectations and different demands. This training provides suggestions about how to effectively mix all four generations to maximize cross-generational communications, avoid conflict, and maximize performance.

“Color Blind to Color Rich”: The primary focus of this training is on race and includes related activities that may be completed individually and then shared with the group. Includes video clips related to race issues that may spark emotions. (This training lasts approximately 4 hours.)

ABC’s: A – addressing, B – basic, C’ – cultural communication, s – situations: This training will provide an overview of the agency language assistance program, cover the effective use of interpreters and focus extensively on illiteracy issues to include ways of identifying and addressing the problem.

NRVCS diversity trainings can be provided on-site, or hosted at one of our agency’s facilities. To schedule a training, or to learn more, please contact Mike Wade at 540-961-8420 or mwade@nrvcs.org.