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Thursday, September 24
2:45 pm - 4:00 pm

Concurrent Breakout Session: Promoting Racial Equity in Workforce Development

Breakout Room 6


Session Recording

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated long-standing racial employment and wage inequities. People of color make up a disproportionate share of the low-wage, essential workforce and are also experiencing higher rates of joblessness. State workforce agencies are in a key role to partner with other entities to better understand the systemic causes of racial inequity and the challenges confronting workers, take concrete actions, and measure progress. During this session, we'll explore the levers available to state workforce leaders and highlight some of the promising state practices that will enable you to lead the way forward by putting equity and job quality front and center. 

Introductions and perspective by NASWA Committee Leadership:

Louise Dean, Vice-Chair, NASWA Equal Opportunity Committee and Executive Director, Alaska Workforce Investment Board, Alaska Department of Labor

Deniece Thomas, Vice-Chair, NASWA Employment & Training Committee and Assistant Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Matthew Weldon, Chair, NASWA Equal Opportunity Committee and Assistant Director, Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training


Melissa Johnson, Director, State Initiatives, National Skills Coalition

Maureen Ramirez, Director, Office of Economic Opportunity, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

Marc Majors, Director, Employment and Training Division, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development