The Metro Center at NYU is building on its expertise guiding schools on issues of educational equity to address equity in the workplace through anti-bias training for nonprofits, community organizations, and for-profit organizations.
The Metro Center’s Center for Strategic Solutions currently works with schools and districts to provide educators with technical assistance and professional development on the impact of race, power, and privilege in teaching and learning. These sessions use research-based strategies and solutions to help participants become comfortable speaking, understanding, and leading with a language of equity, including talking about race and difference and acknowledging stereotypes and implicit biases.
In 2014-2015 alone, the Center for Strategic Solutions worked with 2,100 educators across the country, including in schools in New York City, upstate New York, Long Island, Colorado, Delaware, and Michigan.
Now, the Center for Strategic Solutions will offer anti-bias training on the impact of race, power, and privilege in the workplace to assess and improve organizational cultures and climates using research-based solutions.
“When we’re in schools, we see the impact that other organizations and individuals have on students. It led us to understand that people outside of schools should be having these conversations as well, so this is a natural expansion for us,” said Natalie Zwerger, director of the Metro Center’s Center for Strategic Solutions.
Decades of research have shown that our biases affect our decisions at work, the consequences of which can be damaging to organizations and the people they employ. The Center for Strategic Solutions aims to address these issues by offering training promoting inclusive workplace environments and celebrating and honoring difference among employees. These activities, which go beyond the typical workplace diversity workshop, include discussing race in the workplace and exploring power dynamics between a boss and employee.
“At the Metro Center, we look at people from a profit perspective, instead of a deficit perspective. We want individuals or organizations to leverage the assets they bring to the table in order to be their best selves, whether they be teachers, students, managers, or companies,” said David E. Kirkland, director of the Metro Center.
“This is such a moment in our country for having conversations about race relations – to get beyond the generic idea of colorblindness and treating everyone the same,” Zwerger added. “We have a conversation after each tragic event happens, but then the conversation fizzles. Our hope is to push the conversation to a level of depth that prompts action.”
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