Community Education

The increasing diversity of our community has brought a number of people into contact with unfamiliar cultural practices. This is true both of long-term residents of the majority community, as well as of immigrants from other countries adjusting to the culture of Minnesota. The magnitude of this issue is indicated by the fact that there are students from 58 different countries attending Rochester schools, having as their native tongues almost as many languages and countries of origin in Olmsted County schools as occur in all the school systems in California. 

Rochester and Olmsted County benefit from the skills, cultures, and life experiences that newcomers bring to our community. We need to ensure that our neighborhoods, schools, service establishments, and work places present a welcoming environment to newcomers in order to realize these benefits. 

The Strategic Plan identifies the following six focus areas for community -oriented diversity education efforts:

  1. Community leaders
  2. Criminal justice system
  3. Landlords and real estate professionals
  4. Neighborhoods
  5. Retail trade and service establishments
  6. Work places

 

1. Community Leaders

If diversity issues in this community are to be resolved positively, it can only be through the full engagement and active involvement of the community's opinion leaders. These include not only elected officials at the local and state level, but also business and religious leaders, print and broadcast media managers, and the board chairs and directors of the non-profit sector. The 21st Century Partnership Diversity Task Force recognized this fact when it called for putting diversity "on the community's agenda." Involving community leaders in diversity requires their participation in becoming educated about diversity issues. The following addresses this need. 

ProgramProvide opportunities for elected officials and other community leaders to learn about diversity issues and successful programs.
Customers City, County, and School District elected officials; leaders of religious organizations; owners and CEO's of private businesses; and leaders of non-profit organizations
Responsible Parties Community entities such as local government, businesses that are leaders in terms of employing minorities and promoting diversity awareness in the work place; other area diversity resources
Measures of Effectiveness Increased awareness of "best practices" and the extent to which the area's work force in becoming diverse
Specific Strategy Area employers should arrange visits by elected officials of area governing bodies by December, 2001.

 2. Criminal Justice Systems

The 21st Century Partnership Diversity Task Force Report recommends mandatory annual diversity training for law enforcement officers and other criminal justice system personnel. The purpose of such training would be to sensitize law enforcement and other elements of the criminal justice system to cultural differences.  It is critical that the criminal justice system treat all residents of our communities evenhandedly, and that newcomers to the community come to recognize that law enforcement staff in particular and the criminal justice system in general can be relied on to help newcomers who are victimized. 

In addition, with initiatives such as Crime-Free Multi-Housing and the progress in problem-oriented and community-oriented policing, the Police Department is increasingly a source of information for the majority community on diversity issues. It is important that this information be current and accurate. 

ProgramProvide annual education programming on cultural differences and other aspects of diversity
Customers Area law enforcement and criminal justice system personnel, including public and private attorneys, area judges and court system personnel, probation officers and corrections officers.
Responsible Parties Area units of local government; the Community Justice Forum; area Bar Association; area Diversity Resources and the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce
Measures of Effectiveness Substantiated complains of unfair treatment; analysis of outcome of similar incidents by  majority/minority status; community surveys assessing how the criminal justice system is perceived.

3. Landlords and Real Estate Professionals

ProgramDevelop and deliver customized diversity education for all individuals involved in the residential location decisions on the part of the minority and majority communities. The training should address cultural differences, community concerns about segregation, and legal issues.
Customers Area real estate professional and staff; area lenders; area apartment and manufactured home park owners and managers.
Responsible Parties Area of organizations of real estate professionals, lenders and rental property owners and managers; area Diversity Resources
Measures of Effectiveness

The "dissimilarity index"; surveys of home purchasers and tenants; audit teams to assess differences in customer treatment by majority/minority status

Records of complaints received by the Human Rights Commission related to landlord tenant issues, suspected block-busting, redlining, and racial or other steering.

4. Neighborhoods

Develop and distribute an educational program addressing neighborhood concerns related to diversity, especially related to lower cost housing and racial diversity.
Customers Area neighborhood and block watch groups, whether officially organized or not.
Responsible Parties Neighborhood Resource Center and other coordinating groups; area Diversity Resources
Measurements of Effectiveness Awareness of diversity issues and attitudes as measured by community surveys.

5. Retail Trade and Service Establishments

ProgramPeople opportunities for diversity and cultural awareness education training to retail trade and service establishment employees and managers
Customers Retail and service businesses too small to support in-house diversity programs; especially security personnel in businesses, retail and service establishments.
Responsible Parties Retail business employers and shopping center owners, the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce, and area Diversity Resources
Measures of Effectiveness Number and seriousness of complaints related to treatment of customers at retail trade and service establishments referred to the Olmsted County Human Rights Commission.

6. Work Places

ProgramProvide opportunities for diversity and cultural awareness education training to employees and managers
Customers Business too small to support in-house diversity programs
Responsible Parties The Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the Diversity Council and other Diversity Resources
Measures of Effectiveness

Number and seriousness of employment related complaints to the Olmsted County Human Rights Commission.

Job satisfaction and retention as measured by surveys.

21st Century Diversity Strategic Plan for Diversity

21stCentury

Manual Navigation

21st Century Partnership - Community Strategic Plan for Diversity (Under Re-construction).

Back in May 1999 Olmsted County led the formation of a 21st Century Partnership to research and propose what it would take for Olmsted County to be a leader in the 21st Century. This document attempts to bring back some of that information for re-use.

All content on a single page

Manual Navigation

21st Century Partnership - Community Strategic Plan for Diversity (Under Re-construction).

Back in May 1999 Olmsted County led the formation of a 21st Century Partnership to research and propose what it would take for Olmsted County to be a leader in the 21st Century. This document attempts to bring back some of that information for re-use.

All content on a single page