QC Diversity Initiative

December  03, 2013

      A new effort is underway to increase the number of minority workers and managers in the Quad Cities. That was the announcement today from leaders of the Quad Cities Diversity Initiative - a group made up of the chamber of commerce, colleges, companies, the NAACP, and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. 

      Spokesman Steve Bahls, president of Augustana College, says research shows there are substantial benefits from a diverse workforce - starting with innovation. 

      "When people of different backgrounds come together, they create a marketplace of ideas, they question each other's assumptions, and the best ideas rise to the top."

      Workplace diversity will also help attract talented employees and managers, and help the Quad Cities compete globally. Bahls says another benefit is it provides role models for children.

       "Children of all backgrounds need to see that the American Dream is possible. They need to see that with a good education and hard work, there is a ladder of opportunity. And that ladder of opportunity can go any place, from high positions in government to the corporate board room."

      A survey of major local companies and other employers found just 10 per cent of their managers are Black, Hispanic, or members of some other minority group. The Diversity Initiative has set a goal of reaching 25 per cent minorities in management, within 5 years.