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Extension > Family Matters > Training and Conversation Are Essential to Extension’s Commitment to Civil Rights

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Training and Conversation Are Essential to Extension’s Commitment to Civil Rights


By Mary Jo Katras, Program Leader — Family Resiliency
“I really like how the civil rights training provided the history of civil rights. For me it provided context to the training.”

“I think my biggest take away is that you're not done with recruitment and programming until your participant pool looks like the broader community. There is no point at which you say ‘I've done enough.’ Because whatever recruitment and programming strategies you're using, they aren't working. So you need to keep trying new things with the goal of ever-increasing parity with the community at large.”

“I've only completed one so far, but I was really struck by the number of FD employees represented. Made me feel grateful to the leadership in our center, as well as determined to help however I can to increase diversity within leadership. Also appreciative of the courage it took to speak about some of these issues. FD is full of amazing people!!!”

“The one thing that is really sticking out in my mind is the information on staffing parity. The U has some work to do here.”

“I appreciated the opportunity to take the civil rights training. I found the training informative and well organized, starting with the introduction and evolving into the five lessons. The training and resources provided the information we need to be compliant.”

“I liked the use of the different languages as it pushed us beyond our mainstream language and perhaps out of our comfort zones."

“I liked how the training used Extension employees as we it provided an opportunity to learn more about our colleagues!”

Have you done the Extension Civil Rights Training for Employees yet? These are the voices of your colleagues in Family Development as they reflect on what they found helpful, inspiring, and/or enlightening about the civil rights training, which consists of five online lessons to be completed by the end of the year.

I am proud to be part of an organization that takes civil rights seriously. Extension is committed to making sure that we, as an organization, go above and beyond what is expected and required from current laws, regulations, and policies. This value is aligned with two goals of Extension’s strategic plan: to operate “as an efficient, effective and integrated organization” and to foster “a workforce and environment that drives innovation and excellence and supports a culture of inclusion and collaboration.”

many hands layered on top of each other

This training is critical to enhancing our educational programming across Minnesota, and to raising awareness among our colleagues. It drives us to be dynamic and responsive to the changing demographics and needs of our audiences and colleagues across Extension and Minnesota. The civil rights training is one piece to making these things happen. But we can’t stop there.

We, as Extension employees, need to make the same commitment to going beyond what is expected of us regarding respect for civil rights. Over the next few weeks, I encourage you to ask your colleagues “Have you completed the civil rights training?” Then follow-up with “What did you find helpful, inspiring, and/or enlightening?” Taking the training is the first step, while continuing the conversation is the next. The more we engage in conversation about civil rights, the more we are mindful of it in our work, in our interaction with our colleagues, and in our organization as a whole.

If you have completed the training, or are in the process of doing so, please leave a comment with your own reflection!

2 comments:

  1. I really appreciate the forums because it's a way to hear from ALL Extension employees. There's no other time or place that I know of when "program" staff and "staff" staff can share their thoughts and experiences, learn from each other, and realize that we are all grappling with the same issues.

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  2. I took the Civil Rights course on my own. I found myself looking forward to the next session and enjoyed hearing from so many people from Extension. Taking this course prompted me to have a discussion with my mother about civil rights when she was young. She is 93 and shared with me some of her experiences.

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