NPLES Question of the Month
DO YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR WAYS THAT NLPES OFFICES COULD IMPROVE THE RECRUITMENT OF MINORITIES FOR PROGRAM EVALUATION POSITIONS? (And what has been your office's experience with efforts to improve minority recruitment?)
Kate Wade, Wisconsin
In 2002-03, the Legislative Staff Management Task Force of NCSL's Legislative Staff Coordinating Commission prepared a booklet entitled, "Embracing Diversity in the Legislative Workplace." The booklet provides hands-on action steps for legislative offices that seek to begin or to enhance programs that promote and support diversity. Values, recruitment, and retention are the issue areas for which action steps are identified. A short list of references is also included. The booklets are available from Brian Weberg at NCSL; contact him at Brian.Weberg@ncsl.org (and let him know you learned about the booklet through the NLPES Question of the Month).
Priscilla Anderson, South Carolina
I am an audit manager in South Carolina and a black female. Recruiting minorities in the performance auditing field has the same problem as general recruitment in the area. This speaks directly to people thinking that the term "auditing" applies solely to fiscal operations when that is of course not the same. There should be a concerted effort to communicate with black colleges and university placement offices to explain the performance auditing field and to recruit. Minorities who work in the field should visit colleges and universities.
I had a distinct advantage in that I interned with the Mississippi Performance and Expenditure Review Committee (1981) prior to being hired with the Legislative Audit Council. I knew that the focus was performance auditing where many may not. I have worked with the Audit Council for over 20 years.
Ethel Detch, Tennessee
I sent this question to our personnel director and this is what she said:
Minority recruitment is a top priority. We go where the students are, and we spend time talking to them at a variety of campus events. In addition to our regular recruiting schedule, we also attend career fairs and conduct on-campus interviews at HBCU colleges and universities in Tennessee and in bordering states. We have built a good working relationship with the faculty and staff, and if we need resumes, they send them to us. They will also post job vacancies on-line.
Having a quality intern program is also a great recruitment tool. The Careers Now program has enabled us to recruit top minority accounting and information systems professionals as well as other professionals. After spending one semester with us, they enjoyed it, and wanted to work full-time. Our goal is to continue to promote this program so that minority students will consider career opportunities in the Comptroller's Office.
Finally, I am a member of the Tenn. Association of Colleges and Employers (TACE). I know all or most of the career placement directors, and if I have a vacancy, I can request resumes of qualified applicants, especially minority applicants. They will also post job vacancies on-line.
Frank Luera, California Bureau of State Audits
Diversity is a strength in any organization and there are a number of suggestions that NLPES offices can consider to ensure that they enjoy a diverse mix of employees. In defining their goals, the offices can better emphasize marketing strategies to attract candidates who offer diversity.
For those events and presentations that the NLPES offices participate in to increase diversity, the goal should be two-fold: to market the offices to candidates participating in the event/presentation, and to network and develop contacts to increase the NLPES offices' presence among such groups.
The NLPES offices should take an active role in participating in Diversity Career Fairs and in groups/associations, such as the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), to attract candidates into their hiring process whom they might not otherwise meet.
When the NLPES offices consider at what campuses to target their recruiting efforts, they should reference resources such as The Complete Book of Colleges by the Princeton Review, among others. These resources describe the demographics of the nation's colleges and universities.
The NLPES offices' strategy should include documenting the schools, events and presentations where they recruit with the purpose of attracting a diverse mix of candidates, and tracking their success in hiring these candidates.
Maria Chun, Hawaii
Since Hawaii is rather ethnically diverse, this really hasn't been an issue for us in the classic sense. However, NLPES could do more outreach at the college and graduate level and target more ethnic minorities. One very specific example, would be to recruit in such newsletters as the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA)'s Community Psychologist. This group of professionals pride themselves on promoting ethnic diversity and are involved in quite a bit in the field of program and policy evaluation.
Karen Latta, Texas Sunset Office
Given our small staff size and limited number of openings in any given year, we do little recruiting outside of the usual methods. However, we do contact and send postings to the state's historically minority colleges and universities. Other than that, we have tried to tap into a minority intern program (without much success), and have used word of mouth with minority staffers who work for legislators.
Sharon Robinson, Louisiana
In Louisiana, we have attended career fairs at Southern University and Grambling State University-two predominantly black universities in the state. In addition, we have gone out to speak to classes at many of the universities in the state in an effort to raise awareness about what we do and how we strive to make a difference in the state.
Tricia Bishop, Virginia
JLARC has used a variety of methods to improve minority recruitment, including contacting and maintaining relationships with colleges and universities, advertising in minority newspapers or journals, maintaining direct relationships with faculty and staff members at various colleges and universities, and offering internships to interested students. Specifically, JLARC staff members have attended minority career fairs at colleges and universities and have contacted minority recruitment officers at colleges and universities.