The City is increasing diversity and equity in its workforce. Here’s how

In 2018, the City of Sacramento hired its first Diversity and Equity Manager, Aimée Zenzele Barnes, to lead the City’s efforts to advance racial equity in the City’s workforce.

So, what has been the progress so far?

The City’s Law and Legislation Committee this month received an update from Barnes on her office’s efforts, which have included the creation of both short- and long-term goals as well as the development of a comprehensive institutional foundation to effectively support desired outcomes.

“Our ultimate goal is to have the people who work at the City of Sacramento reflect the city’s diverse communities to better serve the city through our programs and services,” Barnes said.

Shortly after her hiring, Barnes advocated for the City to become a member of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a national network of governments working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. The City then started a six-month cohort training with GARE, made up of representatives from city departments and Council staff.

The City also began work developing a Race and Gender Equity Action Plan, designed to eliminate institutional and structural barriers related to city hiring, training, leadership and employment practices, with the goal of providing accessible and inclusive employment opportunities.

In direct collaboration with Human Resources, Barnes and a citywide work group began drafting a new “Recruitment, Hiring and Selection Manual “for the City that provides consistent policy interpretation, accountability and implementation of practices for the recruitment and hiring of employees. Delegates from City departments and Recognized Employee Organizations provided input and feedback. The manual has been completed and distributed to City staff.

“This manual is a big step toward creating consistency and standards for employment practices across departments at the City,” said Sally Ly, Human Resources manager. “It promotes transparency and strengthens accountability to our employees and the public at large.”

The action plan also looks to operationalize 14 equity-based strategies to attract, hire and retain a workforce that reflects the demographics of the city, Barnes said. Those strategies include:

  • Reviewing and modifying job specifications/announcements to identify and remove unintentional and artificial barriers.
  • Developing a framework to help more people of color and women move from high school to college to entry level positions with City of Sacramento.
  • Fostering employee career development while developing and supporting racial and gender equity.

“This next year is an implementation year,” Barnes said, with the City building capacity with staff so they can “have great competency and confidence in moving this plan forward.”

To see a detailed breakdown of the City’s workforce, visit the City’s gender and ethnic diversity dashboard.