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JobsPLUS program focuses on diversity and inclusion in the workplace

February 3, 2021

Members of the NIU Women’s Soccer team are honing their skills off the field thanks to an innovative JobsPLUS pilot program. During a semester-long experience, 30 student athletes and three coaches are teaming up to learn more about diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

“Actively building community that celebrates diversity and inclusion is a passion of ours, which makes this JobsPLUS program particularly appealing,” said Julie Colhoff, head coach, NIU Women’s Soccer. “We know that each one of us has a role to play in creating a more just future, both at NIU and globally, and we hope this program will better equip us to fulfill our roles in this collective mission.”

The program was developed by Alecia Santuzzi, associate professor, NIU Department of Psychology, Ruth Imose, NIU alumna and Research Science Specialist at McKinsey & Company, and Rob Keating, a current NIU graduate student.

“This workshop aims to increase awareness and depth of knowledge about the role that employing organizations play in supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace,” Santuzzi said. “We highlight up-to-date research findings on the effectiveness of practices as experienced between employees from different social categories and within individual employees who might be concerned about discrimination or exclusion in the workplace.”

Santuzzi said that while general issues in diversity and inclusion are sometimes discussed in abstract terms, this workshop provides an opportunity for students to act on what they learn by creating a concrete demonstration of that knowledge.

On Feb. 12, a Hack Day event will take place where students create projects that reflect their evidence-based knowledge of diversity and inclusion issues and practices.

“These projects might include creating a video to support diversity and inclusion values in an organization, proposing changes to a web page design to improve visibility of those values, or designing their own training activities to increase inclusion in their organization,” Santuzzi said.

Colhoff and the team are looking forward to it.

“Part of our mission as a team is to contribute our best selves to something greater,” Colhoff said. “Our previous partnerships with JobsPLUS programs have contributed to this growth, so we felt confident that this program would be another great opportunity.”

Visit JobsPLUS to learn more.