County is committed to diversity initiative

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    Although he said there was room for improvement, Kent County Human Resources Manager Darius Quinn also said the county has established a good reputation for hiring minorities and reaching out to ethnic and racial groups regarding employment.

    Quinn, who oversees employee relations and the county’s diversity effort, also told the Legislative Committee last week that the county hasn’t had many negative experiences in the hiring process or with minority employees the past few years.

    Quinn credited that success to promoting diversity internally in the county’s labor force and to the work the county’s Cultural Insight Council has accomplished.

    Overall, he said the county has strived to make minority races and women feel more comfortable on the job and has encouraged them to contribute openly. He felt both of those efforts have given minorities a feeling that they can succeed individually at the county.

    “We further believe that a multi-cultural work force gives us a competitive edge in the workplace, as diversity among our employee base and cultural understanding among employees will allow us to remain an employer of choice,” said Quinn.

    In 2008, nearly 16 percent of the county’s 1,829 employees were of minority races. In the last census, the Grand Rapids Metropolitan Statistical Abstract reported minorities as making up 14 percent of the total labor force. That figure surfaced when the MSA included Ottawa and Muskegon counties.

    Women made up 52 percent of county employees in 2008. The GR MSA reported that females were 46.6 percent of the area’s labor force.

    Quinn said the county promoted 40 individuals in 2008. Eighteen percent of those who were promoted were minorities and 45 percent were females.

    Racial comparison of the county’s 2008 work force with the MSA findings

    Kent County
    GR MSA

    American
    Indian
    0.77%
    0.50%

    Asian
    1.26%
    1.40%

    Black
    9.79%
    5.50%

      
    Hispanic
    3.50%
    5.50%

    White
    84.03%
    86.00%

    Other
    0.66%
    1.10%

    Percentages of female and minority employees across eight job categories in the county

    Job
    Category
    Officials & administrators
    Professionals
    Technicians
    Protective Services
    Paraprofessionals
    Office & clerical
    Skilled craft
    Service & maintenance

    Percent
    Female
    43.24%
    58.33%
    43.01%
    19.54%
    55.10%
    91.34%
    3.70%
    40.00%

    Percent
    Minority
    11.71%
    12.01%
    11.83%
    16.45%
    36.05%
    14.12%
    6.17%
    18.46%

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