Looking back to move forward

We are publishing our second annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) report today. While it may seem as if we still have a long road ahead of us in our goal to ensure everyone has “a seat at the table,” it is reassuring to see how far we’ve come.

You’ll see in the report – linked below – that decisions we’ve made have helped us move forward in our goal to have the racial makeup of our County workforce reflect that of our County residents.

For example, we instituted a change to how we bring on “extra hire” employees so that we now have an open, competitive process instead of the old practice of hiring based on “who you know.”  As a result, we’ve broadened the potential pool of candidates for these “foot in the door” types of jobs.  And I see the results firsthand when I join them for the Extra-Hire New Employee Orientation (NEO).  We are attracting outstanding candidates to join our County Team.  It is gratifying to see that in 2019 the percentage of diverse employees (self-reported) was 24.2% but by the end of 2021 that number increased to 29.9%. That’s a 23% increase in just two years!

We’ve also made impressive gains in another of our key goals – hiring more military veterans. Nearly 16% of our employees have served in our armed forces.  At last Monday’s NEO, we welcomed Jeremy Knapp from service in the Coast Guard to Facilities Management!

While women don’t make up 50% of our workforce yet, you may not realize that our department directors are mostly women.  In fact, several of our women directors are in roles formerly held by men (Dr. Karen Parhamovich, Jen Tetatzin, Roxanne Miles, Jody Ferguson, Constance White, Heather Moss and Libby Catalinich).  But more importantly, they are providing amazing leadership for our County, especially in the face of COVID.

Speaking of which, our Economic Development team, led by Betty Capestany, received another award for their work supporting our business community through the pandemic. Congratulations to them for being selected for the Economic Development Board of Tacoma-Pierce County’s “2021 Excellent 10” Award!

I invite you to check out the report and look back at how we’re working to foster a more diverse, inclusive and equitable Pierce County.  And stay tuned.  We have a busy year ahead of us!

Download the Report (pdf)

Thanks for reading,

Bruce Dammeier Signature