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Western New York’s public and private sectors teamed up to assess if and how Buffalo Niagara employers are fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The survey comes at a critical time for both Buffalo Niagara and the country given the ongoing discussions about inequities that exist in our society.

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership, the cites of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, the counties of Erie and Niagara, and local chambers of commerce, tourism bureaus and economic development organizations launched the WNY D&I Business Community Assessment on Thursday.

The information gathered from the assessment will be essential to better understand what steps WNY employers are currently taking to build diverse and inclusive cultures within their workplaces, how employers are measuring progress, what roadblocks organizations face in addressing these issues, and what resources employers think are necessary to assist in this important work.

Buffalo Niagara Partnership members have acknowledged challenges with diversity and inclusion work. In the annual survey of Partnership members, 65 percent reported struggling in achieving a diverse workforce in 2019. That figure rose by 16 points from the previous year. 

Buffalo Niagara Partnership President & CEO Dottie Gallagher said, “This critical assessment has been in the works for some time, but given the events of the last several weeks, the Partnership felt there was no better moment than now to move forward with this initiative and to welcome our public and private partners into the process. We acutely understand that Buffalo Niagara’s economy will never reach its full potential without diverse workplaces, inclusive cultures, and equitable opportunities for all.” 

Niagara Falls Mayor Robert M. Restaino said, “Currently, in communities all across the country the conversation involves the need to make our institutions reflect the appearance of our nation. Bias, implicit or otherwise, weakens all of our institutions, not only in the public sector but in private industry as well. Diversity and inclusion are vital to a healthy workplace environment and this survey will help businesses to recognize where their organization falls on the road to successful inclusion in the workplace. I encourage all businesses receiving the survey to take the time to participate, it could be the best investment you make in your business."

Added Niagara County Legislature Chairman Becky Wydysh, "Leaders in both the public and private sectors know the importance of a diverse, inclusive workplace and the need for equal opportunity for all. But understanding what the barriers are to achieving that is a much deeper conversation. We need businesses to tell us about their successes, failures and frustrations in trying to achieve diversity and inclusion so as a community, we can collectively move forward with strategies that will produce results."

Designed and distributed by Crowley Webb, the assessment should take no more than 10 minutes to complete and will close July 7. The assessment is open to employers with a workforce of more than five people. All respondent information will be confidential and only aggregate data will be shared.

Upon completion of the assessment, businesses will be provided a checklist and resources that will help them to advance their progress along their diversity and inclusion journey.

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