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WISCONSIN: ACTIVELY SHATTERING THE GLASS CEILING
Green Bay – Hundreds of business representatives will gather today at the Northeastern Wisconsin Diversity Learning Forum to discuss diversity as a solution to the worker shortage and specific corporate strategies to "shatter the glass ceiling." The forum, sponsored by the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), Wisconsin Glass Ceiling Commission, Employers Workforce Development Network (EWDN) and Procter & Gamble Company, Inc. (P&G), focuses on the value and importance of diversity in the workforce, and practices of recruitment, retention, and advancement of professional staff.
"Diversity is the acceptance and valuing of differences in all people, regardless of race, gender, age, ethnic background, physical or cognitive challenges, thought patterns, political and social affiliations, sexual preference, to somewhat define diversity," said EWDN Co-chair Paul Linzmeyer. "Through diversity, we as businesses can thrive. Without workforce diversity, businesses will grow stagnant and die."
The goal of the forum is to bring awareness that diversity is one solution to the labor force shortage in Wisconsin. The forum provides information on how diversity serves as a competitive advantage for businesses by going beyond non-discrimination and the best practices to help businesses expand and improve upon their existing workforce. Keynote speaker DWD Secretary Jennifer Reinert will highlight the value of diversity and the benefits of creating a diverse workforce.
"This forum highlights workforce diversity and how companies have utilized exceptional programs that cut through the glass ceiling by providing enhanced career opportunities especially for women and minorities, " said Reinert. "The companies represented at this forum serve as an excellent example of how Wisconsin businesses are actively building tomorrow’s workforce. To build tomorrow’s workforce, businesses today must welcome diversity to help alleviate the labor shortage and provide employment opportunities for an underutilized workforce while at the same time "shattering the glass ceiling" by advancing the professional lives of women and minorities in Wisconsin."
The Glass Ceiling Commission, one of the first in the nation developed by Governor Tommy Thompson, focuses on issues relating to strategies for breaking down barriers in the workplace to leadership diversity within organizations. In 1999, the Commission created local and regional CEO Breakfast Initiatives to help CEOs and community leaders gain an understanding of glass ceiling issues by focusing on encouraging companies to fully utilize the talents of women and minorities.
"As a commission we update and provide information on the Commission’s Speakers Bureau and other support venues from the DWD; promoting the business value of diversity and sharing the best practice ideas from other successful initiatives," said CEO Breakfast Initiative Coordinator Marlene Duffield. "And the Glass Ceiling Commission recognizes those companies initiating strategies to successfully shatter the glass ceiling."
Businesses that proactively and voluntarily eliminate barriers and promote advancement of women and minorities to upper ranks of management receive Diamond Awards from the Governor’s Glass Ceiling Commission. This year, Governor Thompson presented Diamond Awards to five Wisconsin businesses: Alliant Energy, Brady Corporation, Harley-Davidson, Johnson Controls, Inc. and Procter and Gamble.
Procter and Gamble has developed diversity strategies with clear objectives and quality action plans. "Diversity is a business strategy," said Robert Empie, Green Bay Proctor and Gamble Site Leader. "We cannot afford to under-utilize a soul." Since 1998, they have been recognized with the Catalyst Award for "demonstrated success in moving women into leadership positions," appeared in the top 100 companies ranked by Black College magazine, and the top 50 companies ranked by Latina Style magazine for promoting professional opportunities for Hispanic women. "We are here today to recognize and promote the best practices companies are implementing to help shatter the glass ceiling and to make Wisconsin employers aware that embracing diversity is one solution to the labor shortage we face."
The Northeast Diversity Learning Forum will be held at the KI Convention Center, 333 West Main Street in Green Bay from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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Content Contact: Christopher Marschman