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Celebrating Black History Month: City Year Corps’ Living Witness to Diversity and Inclusion

by City Year on February 21, 2012 · 0 comments

in Join City Year, partners, Recruiting Young Leaders

This post is written by Bethany Dickerson Wynder, Director of Diversity Recruitment Initiatives at City Year Headquarters

Corps members often demonstrate a level of cultural competency, lead in culturally sensitive ways, and develop authentic connections to the diverse group of students with whom they work in our most challenged U.S. public schools. City Year corps members – 24% of whom are African American – are significant, but often overlooked leaders in the education arena. In this challenging social, political, and economic environment, City Year is called to continue its track record of ensuring a diverse corps.

According to the Center for American Progress, the results of the 2010 U.S. Census project that the racial and ethnic makeup of the U.S. will undergo dramatic changes over the next few decades. Specifically, by the year 2050, there will no longer be any clear racial and ethnic majority because the most rapidly growing number of residents in our nation today is comprised of individuals of Latino/Hispanic and Asian descent.

This demographic shift will hold important policy implications, particularly if current racial and ethnic disparities in education, employment, health, and other social services continue (Source: “Progress 2050: New Ideas for a Diverse America,” October 2011). City Year can reduce racial and ethnic disparities – specifically in the fields of education and employment – in part, by increasing corps diversity using a strategic, dynamic, and high-impact approach.
What is City Year doing to increase corps diversity?

In May 2011, the Headquarters Recruitment Admissions and Alumni Affairs team developed a holistic, integrated, and multi-year corps member diversity plan, which has been reviewed and discussed among some site and senior leaders. The plan is an initial step toward the implementation of an integrated, holistic, and realistic approach toward increasing the number of City Year corps members of color. The process of developing, discussing, and implementing the plan provides an opportunity for aligning City Year’s mission, vision, and values with its commitment to enhancing and increasing the diversity of its corps members.

Over the past year, we have developed national partnerships with 11 organizations that can refer their members to City Year as well as promote City Year, and enhance the programs of City Year to further increase the diversity of the corps member applicant pool. Of those 11 partner organizations, City Year has formalized working agreements with:

Bonner Foundation
Breakthrough Collaborative
Ron Brown Scholar Program
UNCF Special Programs Corporation
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO)

We are actively cultivating partnerships and relationships with others. In Fall 2011, we created a Diversity Recruitment Collaborative Pilot comprised of City Year, Teach For America, Peace Corps, Breakthrough Collaborative, and Year Up to identify and share best and promising practices around ways that the respective organizations can work together to meet recruitment goals. We also are working to raise awareness levels in diverse communities using different marketing and communication channels.