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Diversity and Inclusion

Chamber Statement on Diversity & Inclusion: The Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce will champion diversity and inclusion with an intentional approach to inform people, policies, and practices that strengthen access and opportunity in the business community and region at large.

Strategic Priority: Champion the competitive advantage of having a diverse and inclusive business climate.

Research from Visioneering Wichita, The Chung Report, and other community initiatives has demonstrated the need for our community to diversify its industry bases, as well as the individuals living and working in the community to be positioned for long-term innovation and growth. The Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce is uniquely positioned to take a leadership role in building an inclusive community. We have established connections to organizations already making progress for groups with a variety of dimensions of diversity, as well as to the business community through our large membership base.

The Initiatives

Wichita Connect
This program’s mission is to help Wichita-area companies make progress in attracting and hiring diverse and young talent. It will do this primarily by connecting Chamber members’ potential employees to a diverse network of Ambassadors who can tell the story of Wichita through their own lens – providing candidates with an enthusiastic and honest portrayal of life in Wichita. Ambassadors may represent a specific race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, political affiliation, dietary preference, service need, or stage of life, among many other dimensions.

Next Steps for Interested Members: Contact Gabri Samia or Jonathan Long for more information on how to become a partner in this program. 

CEO Roundtable on Diversity and Inclusion
In partnership with Advance Kansas, the Chamber invites a small group of individuals who represent the highest position in their organization to gain a deeper understanding of an all-inclusive approach to diversity. During this discussion, they identify priorities related to addressing the human capital and perception challenges through the lens of diversity and inclusion in the business community. Participants are also introduced to the Advance Kansas concept and invited to participate themselves or nominate high-performing employees to make progress on the identified priorities through community action projects.

Next Steps for Interested Members: Contact Gary Plummer for more information about this program. 

Convening Community Organizations
Understanding there are many groups working on diversity and inclusion (D&I) from many angles, the Chamber convened an Inclusive Listening Tour in 2017 to ensure our program of work as The Chamber aligns with and compliments the work being done by other community groups. We invited hundreds of community leaders to join us for focused conversations around their primary dimension(s) of work. The results of that conversation can be found here.

Our Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Committee works to identify additional opportunities to engage with the greater Wichita community around the topic of diversity and inclusion. In 2018, the participants of the Inclusive Listening Tour were gathered to share their input in four Project Wichita focus groups. In early 2019, this group will be convened again to hear the final result and next steps for Project Wichita.

Next Steps for Interested Members: To learn more about the evolution of this initiatives, contact Gabri Samia.

Supporting Youth Employment Project
Mayor Jeff Longwell, the Workforce Alliance, the Greater Wichita YMCA, the City of Wichita, and others are partnering to promote the need for summer jobs for youth (targeting at-risk youth ages 16-19), with a goal of having local businesses hire at least 1,000 youth for summer jobs. The Chamber annually supports this program by hiring a summer employee from the Youth Employment Project and by encouraging Chamber members to do the same.

Next Steps for Interested Members: Those interested in participating can contact Amanda Duncan at the Workforce Alliance directly.

Partnering with Minority Business Organizations
The Wichita Regional Chamber has made it a priority to partner with and support groups including the Create Campaign, the Wichita Hispanic Chamber, the Heartland Black Chamber, the Wichita Black Chamber, the Urban League, and others. In addition, we have worked with the Minority Supplier Council and helped to recruit participants for the Small Business Administration’s Emerging Leaders program.

In 2019, the Chamber will work to support increased supplier diversity in the Wichita region.

Next Steps for Interested Members: For more information on the Chamber’s support of minority business organizations and supplier diversity, please contact Jonathan Long.

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