By interviewing 17 people of color in a variety of health care positions, Central Iowa HealthWorks learned about what helps and what prevents people of color from advancing in health care careers. We shared our findings in part 1 of this two-part blog series.
From these findings, we’ve developed four ideas for how we can take action to better support people of color in pursuing further training or education in health care fields to increase diversity in the workplace and employee retention. These ideas could also be implemented at an organization working on diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies.
1. Prioritize learning.
Dedicate time and resources to learning and reflecting on race and how policies and systems can create a more inclusive environment. Be willing to reflect on your own biases and how they can impact people of color. Intentionally create a space that is safe for staff to be vulnerable and share experiences and that fosters relationships.
2. Target outreach to populations of color.
When promoting a learning or job opportunity, put greater efforts into reaching populations of color. Encourage current participants to notify others in their communities. Word-of-mouth has been one of the primary ways HealthWorks participants have learned about the program. Marketing efforts should showcase past successful clients of color.
3. Encourage mentoring and peer support.
Many participants who advanced in their career said that they were helped by people of color and that they wanted to do the same for others. Support a forum for people of color to meet and encourage each other to enable these connections to be made. Ideally, a group would be led by participants. Organizations could also provide training and resources to support people of color in mentoring others.
4. Connect to English language resources.
Help connect English Language Learners to teachers and professors who are uniquely qualified to help them reach their education goals. If they would like, provide resources that can help with health care vocabulary, tutoring, or speaking practice.
Find other ways you can help increase employment opportunities for African Americans in Iowa.