Connecticut considers diversity as tsunami retreat awaits | National policy
By SUSAN HAIGH – Associated Press
With a big wave of retirements expected across the Connecticut state government next year, discussions are underway on how to ensure that many of these soon-to-be-vacant positions are filled with workers. more diverse, in addition to ensuring that the state can continue to provide services.
The review comes as recent data indicates that some state executive branch agencies remain predominantly dominated by white males, lagging behind others when it comes to hiring people of color and women.
“These retirements pose a risk to the quality and availability of services, that’s for sure,” Mohamad Alkadry, head of UConn’s public policy department, said recently speaking to members of a group. legislative work tasked with making recommendations to address what has been described as a potential “tsunami” of retirements.
“But there is also an opportunity to address disparities in representation and past injustice in terms of representation,” Alkadry said.
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In addition to the task force, which is due to present recommendations to the General Assembly in February, Democratic Governor Ned Lamont’s administration and the Department of Administrative Services are also considering how to include greater diversity in their work to do so. facing what could be thousands of retirements.
The short answer to the question ‘Do we think this is an opportunity to ensure we have a diverse workforce? “Is yes,” said Lora Rae Anderson, communications director for state operations chief Josh Geballe, who is also the DAS commissioner.
A consultant’s report released in July by the Boston Consulting Group and commissioned by the Lamont administration found that 72% of the more than 8,000 state executive employees eligible for retirement in 2022 are seriously considering it. . More employees than usual are eligible for retirement because the average age of the state’s workforce is on the rise. In addition, a formula for calculating pension benefits and retiree health will be different after June 30, creating a possible incentive for some employees.
About 30,000 people work full-time in Connecticut executive agencies, while another 20,000 work for courts, the General Assembly, hospital systems and state universities. These 20,000 were not included in the scope of the report.
Women continue to be under-represented in some agencies and divisions such as police departments, road operations, engineering and construction, and one prison is included in another report produced by UConn and the Office of the state controller. The analysis is based on data extracted in March 2021 from nearly 28,360 full-time government employees who work in executive branch agencies.
The same report found that the number of black and Hispanic women newly hired for male-dominated state agency jobs is well below their representation in the overall Connecticut population. For example, between March 30, 2020 and March 30, 2021, 3.7% of new hires were black women, compared to about 5% of the population. Hispanic women made up 2.8% of new hires, while they made up 7% of the population.
While the total number of white employees in executive branch agencies as a whole continues to exceed the percentage of white residents living in Connecticut – a gap that has narrowed with new hires – the total number of employees in the The Hispanic state is the most under-represented group. The gap has widened with new hires, according to the report.
Anderson said Connecticut state recruiting staff have already critically thought about how to reach more diverse populations to fill the large number of anticipated vacancies, such as sharing information about job opportunities. employment through new points of sale, especially print and digital. She said the public “in all communities” can expect to see more information about job openings in the state in the coming months.
She said the administration also plans to build on the community partnerships it established during the COVID-19 pandemic, including those in minority communities, calling them “critical” to the recruiting process for it. ‘State.
“We hope that many of these relationships we’ve forged will help ensure that we have a representative staff in state government,” Anderson said in an email.
Create a ‘toolbox’ of training programs and partnerships for state agencies, provide free courses for certain professions, reach young people while they are still in high school, and resuscitate old leadership training programs for state employees who were dropped or scaled back because of state budget constraints were some of the ideas discussed recently by task force members.
Deputy State Comptroller Tara Downes has recommended not taking a one-size-fits-all approach to diversifying state government.
“It has to be an agency-by-agency program because the state police are going to have a totally different need than the state comptroller’s office or IT recruiting versus recruiting for the protection service. police, ”she told members of the task force. “So it will have to be an agency-by-agency strategy. “
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