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Lansing dashboard: City workforce whiter than the city's population

Posted at 9:20 AM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 09:20:34-05

LANSING, Mich. — Lansing just launched a workforce Diversity Dashboard, which shows that over 70 percent of the city's workers are white, a higher percentage than the city’s population as a whole, and that other races are under represented.

A push for more diversity within Lansing’s workforce is in process, according to Mayor Andy Schor.

“We’ve always been interested in having a diverse staff that represents out community,” Schor said. “You certainly want workers to reflect the residents and those that are in our community."

Schor’s Racial, Equity and Justice Alliance created on online dashboard, which tracks the racial and ethnic make up of the city's workforce.

Here’s a breakdown of the numbers:

-70.3 percent of Lansing city workers are white, but only 62.5 percent of the city’s population is white.

-17.6 percent of city workers are Black, and 21.3 percent of the city’s population is Black.

-6.7 percent of city workers identify as Hispanic and 12.4 percent of Lansing residents are Hispanic.

“To me, helping diversify the workforce means going out and letting folks know in all communities, those jobs are available,” Schor said.

Schor admits that diversity in the city’s workforce isn’t where he wants it to be, but he knows it’s needed.

“To be able to relate and things that we have in the community, I don’t feel like I have partners and coworkers that can relate to those things,” said Community Resource Office with the Lansing Fire Department Rashemeer Neal.

Neal and his friend David Odom both work for the Lansing Fire Department. Odom, who is suing the city for racial discrimination, is the Administrative chief. Both men love their jobs but say diversity in the department is not the best.

“We need more diversity,” Neal said. “Our fire department should look like how our community look and that way when we’re rolling up on scene citizens see us as firefighters they can relate to,” Neal said.

According to the dashboard, the Lansing Fire Department has 174 employees and more than 70 percent are white.

“I think we got a few women in the leadership position, but it’s mainly controlled by white male,” Neal said.

“You know, I know what it’s like to be a minority in the fire department and in the city,” Odom said. “So, how I look at things and how I view things than a counterpart who is not a minority. I think the city needs to make this diversity effort a responsibility. Make it something that continues to happens. Not just I hired some diversity now I’m done, It has to become a part of the process.