It is a recognition that, while opportunities abound in Franklin County, they aren’t equally available to everyone, and that the American Dream isn’t actually available to all Americans.
Racial disparities in education, income, health, and economic mobility are keeping our community from realizing its full potential.
Image Credit: Interaction Institute for Social Change | Artist: Angus Maguire
The commissioners created the county Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in 2020 to begin to address systemic inequities and disparities throughout the county by developing and implementing changes in internal and external policy and practices.
The office focuses on county processes for contracting, as well as hiring, promotion, and discipline, and began its work with Implicit Bias and Cultural Competency Trainings for BOC employees, and a comprehensive Cultural Climate Audit to study the organization’s demographics, cultural competence, structural accountability, and culture of inclusivity.
The Racial Equity Council was formed in 2021 with representatives from each of the commissioners’ agencies to lead the office’s internal discussion of race and inequity, and to create recommendations to improve our office’s climate, accessibility, and inclusivity.
In 2020, the commissioners partnered with the Columbus Urban League to create the Business Growth and Equity Fund to provide support for minority-owned businesses, and in 2021, they added nearly $1 million in additional funding to be divided between grants and loans for small businesses still struggling in the pandemic economy.
In June of last year, the commissioners partnered with the City of Columbus and our community’s convention and visitor’s bureau, Experience Columbus, to create a Diversity Apprentice Program designed to help increase diversity and improve equity in the travel and tourism industry.
Destination, Sports, and Meetings and Events, to a diverse group of apprentices interested in pursuing a career in travel, tourism, and hospitality.
In 2021, Business First recognized Franklin County and Franklin County Administrator Kenneth N. Wilson as Outstanding Diversity Organization and Outstanding Diversity Champion, respectively for all their work in diversity, equity and inclusion.
For years, the commissioners' Purchasing Department has worked to increase the diversity of the companies with which the county does business, and to ensure that they reflect the community that we represent.
A specialized position was created within Purchasing to help market the county to small and emerging business enterprises, and small businesses with owners who are women, minorities, veterans, members of the LGBT community, or economically disadvantaged.