At Interwest, we recognize that we have a lot of work to do. While our values are and have always been in favor of lifting each other up and providing a culture of community, we must do what we can to fix systemic racism and truly pave the way for our Black colleagues and community members.
Here are some things we are currently working on as a start:
- Improving our hiring practices. Our Human Resources department has been tasked to reach out to Black organizations on the college campuses where we recruit. We have to increase the amount of interest we receive from Black students to join our company. And in order to retain them, we will actively outreach and provide professional opportunities as well as clear paths for advancement.
- Becoming members of professional Black organizations. We have to become participating members of professional Black organizations to develop a network we can reach out to and increase hiring at all levels. In this way, we can attract mid or late career professionals who can become leaders in our organization. We only have a few Black senior professionals in our company, and that is not nearly enough.
- Increasing our outreach to Black youth. We have a foundation that creates scholarship programs for high school students transitioning to higher education, supporting communities in which we work that have socio-economic challenges. This year, we had 44 scholarship recipients — five of which were Black students and 28 Latino students, which is reflective of the demographics of the high schools we reached. We plan to expand that program into more high schools with a higher percentage of Black students.
To our Black employees, clients, and community members: We understand that you are hurting, and we are listening. Please reach out to our Internal Communications line via text or phone call 303-952-4896 to provide suggestions on what we can do to create a better, safer, and more mindful community. If you would like to reach out directly to our CEO, Terry Rodrigue, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-549-7776.