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McAdams Launches County Diversity Campaign

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams wants county employees to be extra-welcoming and respectful to their increasingly more diverse neighbors. As part of a new Inclusion Campaign, McAdams is pushing for every county employee to have completed diversity awareness training by the end of this year. He’s also reaching out to employers outside county government to do the training.

Salt Lake County is home to tens of thousands of refugees from across the globe, with about 1,000 new refugees arriving each year. In addition, 129 different languages are spoken in Salt Lake County schools.  Mayor Ben McAdams says as the population grows more and more diverse, so must county government.

“I know that each of us may be more comfortable with what is most familiar,” McAdams says. “That’s simply human nature. But we can step out of our comfort zone and learn about those who appear to not be like us and we can always behave respectfully toward them.”

The mayor’s County Office of Diversity Affairs or CODA is offering diversity awareness training for every county division and department. McAdams hopes to have every county employee trained by the end of the year.

Every office that has completed training will be identified with a welcome sign that touts the county’s non-discrimination policy.  The training is also available to organizations and employers outside of Salt Lake County Government free of charge.

Jacqueline Gomez Arias is a member of CODA.

“Now the sign is going to remind everybody of that training and is going to make it a part of daily life that we have to look into each other’s eyes regardless of the color of the skin or the language we speak. Because we all have something to offer,” Arias says.

As of Wednesday, county recreation centers, libraries, senior centers and golf courses have completed the requirements as well as a handful of other divisions and departments.

The training must be scheduled four weeks in advance and include a minimum of 50 people. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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