Category Archives: diversity


NEPDEC logo | 570-207-1540

The mission of NEPDEC is to create a more inclusive, dynamic culture and to prepare for increasingly complex and diverse workplaces. NEPDEC is committed to breaking down barriers of inequities and exclusion by recognizing the unique traits and characteristics of our constituents.

The recent tragic and senseless death of George Floyd and others reminds us of the continued injustices against people of color in our country. We feel anger, despair, and a sense of hopelessness over his loss and are ashamed by the lack of progress we have made as a nation in achieving social justice for all citizens.

We are compelled to amplify our voices by challenging biases and institutional barriers that preserve economic and social inequality.

This means rooting out inequities including systemic racism by tackling these issues constructively within our own organizations and with our communities.

NEPDEC’s goals are to provide educational programming to support equity initiatives; organize networking events to promote interaction and sharing; build strong alliances among historically underserved populations; and share important educational and other resources to support diversity, equity, and inclusion. We believe that collaboration and leveraging our regional resources is crucial for efforts to succeed.

As part of our ongoing commitment, we invite you to join us for a Community Conversation on how we can work together as a region to progress on these issues.

Sign up by email to join our network or community organizers, and to receive details on when that conversation will take place. You may also call us at 570-207-1540.

May 2019

NEPDEC is proud to present the third in our three part webinar series for Spring 2019. These webinars were recorded at our conference on Embracing Diversity for Maximum Impact in the Workplace held on 10/26/2018 at Mohegan Sun Pocono. To view the third in our webinar series, use the title link below.

Series III: Diversity Best Practices – Action Planning and Implementation

NEPDEC Executive Director, Brad Kovaleski, addresses the attendees of the Conference on Embracing Diversity for Maximum Impact in the Workplace.

Upcoming Workshop on December 5th, Skills for Having Difficult Dialogues


Dr. Jim Calderone, Ed.D., ACSW, LSW

2:00 pm-4:00 pm

Monday, December 5, 2016
Wilkes University, Henry Student Center, Miller Room, 2nd Floor

1.) Understanding the context of the conversation and incorporating this understanding into our planning;
2.) “Setting the stage” for meaningful discussion;
3.) Integrating “best practices” in our facilitation of difficult topics;
4.) Dealing with the normal testing, resistance, skepticism, and anger which these discussions may trigger;
5.) Preparing one’s self as facilitator for leading difficult discussions;
6.) Following up with participants after the discussion.

James Calderone has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Wilkes University in English, with a Secondary Education Certification, a Master’s in Social Work from University of Wisconsin/Madison, and a Doctorate in Education from Temple in Adult Development. Calderone also holds a Certificate in Spiritual Direction from Marywood University.

Jim is a full professor in the Social Work Department at Misericordia University and a Licensed Social Worker. He has also served as Dean of the School of Social Sciences and Education at Misericordia. He has been accepted into the Academy of Certified Social Workers. Jim is active as an ordained priest in the American Catholic Church in the United States, and is director of the St. Martin Luther King, Jr. Pastoral Outreach Center in Kingston, PA.

Dr. Calderone has served on the Advisory Board of the Diversity Institute at Misericordia University, and has been an active diversity consultant and trainer. He has completed the Anti-Defamation League World of Difference Program, and presented at many national conferences on diversity planning, curriculum, and training. He currently works with Consult4Diversity, a firm providing assessment and training to colleges, universities, healthcare systems, and businesses.

Ask the White Guy: Why Do ‘Differences’ Matter? (by Luke Visconti)

When can this website focus on the good things that come out of diversity? As a manager, that is what I focus on with my diverse group—that includes those white male workers that are non-too-popular with this website. Come on—let’s get over this and start turning around the website to focus on the examples of working together! When someone joins my group, I don’t want an attitude that says ‘I am different and special – give me extra help to fit in’ – I want an engineer that says ‘how can I do my job the best and work with the team equally.’

There are hundreds of positive articles on this website—and on—about all the positive aspects of managing diversity.

As far as “working together,” isn’t the shoe on the white male foot since they occupy the disproportionate majority of power positions in this country? Take a look at the leadership of the company you work for: There are 20 people pictured on the “leadership” page. Fifteen white men, two Black men, three white women (no apparent Latinos or Asians). Your company’s board of directors is even worse—nine men and one woman. I checked as many photos as I could and they were all white (no apparent Latinos or Asians).

Forty-seven percent of people with bachelor’s degrees in the workforce are women. The freshman class for four-year schools is 38 percent non-white; for two-year schools it’s 47 percent non-white. Your company’s leadership is substantially less diverse than the workforce of the United States—now and especially in the near future. What does “working together” mean with numbers like this? Depends on who you are.

Yes, your company’s website has a “diversity” area, but it’s weak—no quote from the CEO, no statistics, antiquated programs. It leverages that wiggly phrase “inclusive,” which often appears on websites with no metrics. “Inclusive” is often a prelude to no accountability.

Your company is engineering driven, and I’ve heard the excuse about how few women and/or Black and Latino engineers there are. But there’s more Blacks and Latinos attending college every year—and women have been getting more bachelor’s degrees than men since 1980. Why would a successful woman and/or Black or Latino student go into your field? It’s 2010; nobody has to be a pioneer anymore. There are plenty of progressive industries to work for. I don’t see your company at any of the education-based philanthropies I’m associated with, including the schools where I’m on the board. I find it hard to believe that your company can figure out how to make missiles and satellites but can’t figure out how to entice college-bound women and/or Blacks and Latinos to take more math courses in eighth grade. Whether it’s intended or not, the sign on the door of your company reads “white men preferred, please.”

Why would your company want to do the extra work required to recruit underrepresented people? There’s an economic point to diversity. But you have to believe that people are created equally—and there’s nothing particularly special about white men. If you believe that, then the logical next step is to understand that all people are created equally—and talent is distributed equally also. This means that for every percentage point your company underperforms the available labor pool, your workforce quality is decreased. Logically, underrepresentation also erodes engagement, productivity and innovation of everyone not in the majority. Not doing the extra work to be representational is a death spiral in a country where white people will soon be less than 50 percent of the population.

Finally, as an individual with all the attributes you bring to the table, you ARE different and special—and so are we all. Companies that work on building relationships based on that mutual respect get people to work hard for them, get the best possible talent and elicit the best innovation. Think about it. All the special things about you—your race, your gender, your experience (“second-generation immigrant”)—all contribute to the way you look at approaching situations, evaluating solutions and solving problems. The more differences you cultivate, the better ideas you will receive.

Unfortunately, it appears to me that you represent the attitude of your company very well—arms crossed in front of your chest demanding that people live up to some sort of expectation about “teamwork” that you have, when your company’s record indicates that only certain people will receive the promotions and leadership roles.

Our nation’s culture has evolved to a place where the best and the brightest, including white men, don’t have to put up with that nonsense anymore.

Employers plan positive diversity recruitment

Employers in Britain are planning to more aggressively recruit gay, disabled, female and Asian workers in 2007 and 2008, a new poll reveals.

More than 215 hiring managers and 500 workers were surveyed for job site by Harris Interactive and 21 per cent said that they planned to enhance their recruitment process for women, 16 per cent for disabled workers, 13 per cent for Asian workers and gay/lesbian workers (eight per cent).

A quarter of employers polled (26 per cent) said that they planned to increase their staff numbers by more in the last six months of 2007 than the first, with nearly 49 per cent of bosses hiring more workers in the first half of the year.

Entitled 2007 UK Job Forecast, the study predicts that job growth in Britain will remain stable until the end of this year and employers will “remain committed to expanding the demographics of their staffs”.

Dave Smith, Managing Director of “UK employers will continue to struggle with a shrinking skilled labour force as Baby Boomers move closer to retirement and the smaller generations of replacement workers falls under quota.”

The UK workforce can also expect to see employers become more creative in their recruitment and retention efforts, evident in higher salaries, increased training and more flexible work cultures.”

A raft of new legislation protecting workers from age, racial, religious, gender and other forms of discrimination in Britain has highlighted the importance of workplace diversity in Britain.

This story was first published by Adfero

BBC executives praised for ditching £350,000 bonuses after failing to meet diversity targets

Diversity experts have applauded the decision by BBC executives to forgo their bonuses collectively worth £350,000, after the broadcaster failed to meet its diversity targets.

The corporation set itself stringent targets in 2004 of increasing the percentage of black and minority ethnic staff to 12.5% and 7% at senior management level, to be met by 31 December 2007.

It said that while progress had been made, it would not meet some specific commitments on workforce numbers.

Sally Humpage, employee relations and diversity adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said the BBC directors had taken a “positive step” that other organisations could learn from.

“This bold step sends out a message to the rest of the company that everyone is responsible,” she said. “Organisations need to set out objectives on diversity and then measure performance around those objectives. The BBC has taken a strong lead where others can follow.”

Atul Shah, chief executive of consultancy Diverse Ethics, and an adviser to the BBC, said the executives’ action was laudable.

“Commercial business leaders rarely sacrifice bonuses under any circumstances and their remuneration is much higher than that of the BBC executive directors,” he said.

But Luke Crawley, assistant general secretary at broadcast union Bectu, said the BBC should go further.

He said: “This is a positive and strong message it is sending out, but it would do no harm for this action to cascade further down the management board.”

Mark Thompson, director-general of the BBC, who set up a diversity leadership council at the corporation in 2005, is still set to receive a bonus as determined by the remuneration committee of the BBC Trust.

This story was first published by Personnel Today

Gay students get death threats

More than 150,000 students in the UK have been bullied at secondary school because they are gay, a new survey found.

Over two thirds of lesbian and gay pupils have been victimised by homophobic bullying, with abuse ranging from verbal abuse to violence to death threats at the hands of students and staff alike. Of those, 92 per cent (143,000) have experienced verbal bullying, 41 per cent (64,000) physical bullying and 17 per cent (26,000) death threats.

The study also discovered that that half of teachers did not intervene when students used homophobic language, using derogatory labels like “dyke”, “queer” or “rug muncher”.

Catherine, 13, from a single sex independent school (South East) explained that “ teachers join in on the joke’.

Ben Summerskill, Stonewall chief executive, said “These deeply disturbing figures should serve as a wake-up call to everyone working in education.”

“This is a damning legacy of Section 28, which deterred schools from tackling anti-gay bullying for so long. This remains one of the few sorts of bullying about which too many schools still take no action. It blights the lives not just of gay children but of thousands of pupils perceived to be lesbian or gay too.”

The Stonewall survey polled 1,145 young people and found that 7/10 of those who have experienced homophobic bullying said it has adversely affected their school work. Half of those bullied say they have missed school as a result.

Ali, 17, from a secondary school in London said, “On three occasions I’ve been assaulted and had to go to hospital to be examined and get the police involved”.

‘People call me ‘gay’ everyday, sometimes people kick me and push me, they shut me out of games during school gym and they steal my belongings, “ said James, 17, from a secondary school in the South West.

Stonewall’s survey is the largest poll of young gay people ever conducted in the UK.

This story was first published on

TUC lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender annual conference

Several hundred lesbian and gay workers are gathering in central London over the next two days to debate a series of key equality issues at the annual TUC Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender conference.

Delegates attending the event at the TUC’s Congress House HQ will hear speeches from TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber, Commission for Equality and Human Rights Chair Trevor Phillips and MP Angela Eagle.

Motions to be discussed by delegates include the portrayal of lesbian and gay people in the media, the monitoring of sexuality in the workplace and the potential conflict between religious belief and sexual orientation.

Addressing the conference today (Thursday), TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘Sometimes it’s easy to forget just how far we’ve come in the past decade. Ten years ago, gay rights were seen as a minority pursuit – now they’re part of the political mainstream. Ten years ago, the debate was about Section 28 – now we celebrate civil partnerships. And ten years ago, discrimination against the gay community in the provision of goods and services was quite legal – now, at long last, it has been outlawed.

‘But as we celebrate that progress, we cannot afford to relax our guard. This is not the time for us to take of eye of the ball. Despite all the legal gains – despite our largely liberal, tolerant society – the ugly scar of homophobia continues to blight the lives of so many people in your community. The young student bullied at college, the lesbian taunted about her sexuality, the gay couple hounded from their home.

‘However welcome they may be, changes on the statute book count for little unless they are matched by a corresponding change in attitudes. Think about our workplaces. We know from our own research that four in ten LGBT workers have faced abuse at work because of their sexuality.

‘And let’s not forget the challenges faced by LGBT people worldwide. From the casual murder of gay men in Jamaica to state-sponsored persecution in Iran, from the alarming rise in homophobia in Russia to the death squads of Iraq, members of your community are under attack as never before. None of us can afford to turn a blind eye – an injury to one is an injury to all. But where there is discrimination, unions will seek to remove it. Where there is inequality, we will tackle it. And where there is injustice, we will wage war on it.’

Suppliers with poor diversity records will fail in public sector procurement battle

Government proposals to increase equality in the multi-billion pound public sector procurement process will see suppliers with poor diversity records shoved to the bottom of the pile, according to legal experts.

The Discrimination Law Review, published earlier this month, stressed that in carrying out procurement, public authorities must have regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and promote equality.

With public sector procurement in the UK worth more than £125bn a year, public authorities represent a major customer base.

Earlier this year, Personnel Today exclusively revealed that technology giant Microsoft ditched a supplier with a poor attitude towards diversity. The company’s HR director Dave Gartenberg said: “In one case, we changed provider because they were cavalier towards the topic. They were supplying a perfectly good service, but we stopped using them.”

Sandra Wallace, head of equality and diversity at law firm DLA Piper, said: “Companies with a strong equality and diversity record will have an immediate advantage when bidding for contracts.

“Just as the Microsoft case highlighted, the Green Paper confirms that companies that fail to recognise the importance of good diversity practice are placing themselves at a competitive disadvantage.”

Critics have argued that firms with poor diversity performance should be excluded from bidding for contracts altogether. But Wallace said the government was unlikely to go that far.
“There is a debate as to whether a simple breach of discrimination law should disqualify a company from tendering for public contracts,” she said. “What is more likely to emerge is practical guidance on how to factor equality into the procurement process.”

The CBI said employers recognised procurement could be a “highly effective tool” for encouraging equality, as long as contracts focused on results, and not on “box-ticking”.

This story was first published by Personnel Today

Investing in disabled people’s skills could boost the economy by £35 billion

Improving the skills of disabled people to world class levels by 2020 would boost the economy by £35 billion over 30 years, equivalent to 18 months growth, and help tackle child poverty, argues SMF Chief Economist Stephen Evans in a new report, Disability, Skills and Work: Raising our ambitions, published by the Social Market Foundation in association with the Disability Rights Commission.

The report argues that, as well as the benefits from raising the skills rate of disabled people to world class levels, improving the employment rate of disabled people to the UK average through skills improvements would give a boost to the economy of some £13 billion, equivalent to six months economic growth.

To achieve this prize Disability, Skills and Work recommends:
• A national commitment to reducing the relative skills gap between disabled people and the national average
• Employers be required to take greater responsibility, aided by improved support, but backed by tough new legal duties if progress falls short
• Out of work disabled people be given much greater opportunity to improve their skills as a route back to work

These proposals would not only result in increased productivity and employment, but also help tackle poverty, in particular child poverty.

Children from deprived backgrounds often risk becoming trapped in a cycle of disadvantage. Given one in three children living in poverty in Britain has a disabled parent, the report contends that transforming the employment prospects of disabled people by investing in their skills must be a central part of the Governments efforts to end child poverty by 2020.

Commenting, author of the report, Stephen Evans said:

“The size of the challenge is daunting. But the scale of the prize is huge and the cost of inaction is mounting by the day through wasted talent. The past decade has shown how empowering disabled people and supporting employers can work. The next decade needs to see a step change in this approach and a dramatic boost to the skills of disabled people.”

Agnes Fletcher, Director of Policy and Communications at the Disability Rights Commission, said:

“Despite rising levels of employment for disabled people over recent years, too many are still without jobs and living in poverty as a result. Supplying disabled people with the skills they need is the missing link between ending child poverty, boosting the economy and getting more people off benefits and back into work. As this report shows, investing in disabled people’s skills is a win/win situation for Government, creating massive dividends for the economy and delivering greater equality at the same time.”