Promoting Greater Minority Representation in State Workforce, Contracts to Better Reflect RI's Changing Demographics
Affirms Rhode Island's Long Legacy of Diversity and Tolerance
Providence, RI – Governor Lincoln D. Chafee today signed Executive Order 13-05, designed to reflect the changing demographics of Rhode Island's population through greater representation of minorities in the state workforce and minority-owned business enterprises (MBEs) in state contracts. "Throughout Rhode Island's history, diversity has made this a better, more vibrant place to live and work," Governor Chafee said. "For centuries, Rhode Islanders of all backgrounds, ethnicities, countries of origin, and skin color have strengthened our state and its economy, and this continues to this day. Therefore, to affirm Rhode Island's proud legacy of tolerance and diversity, I am signing into law Executive Order 13-05 with the goal of having our state's workforce and contracts better reflect the changing demographics of the state as a whole." The Governor's Executive Order is modeled largely on similar measures issued by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick in 2007 and 2010. Since taking office, Governor Chafee has met and worked with representatives of the minority community – including the House and Senate minority caucuses, the Urban League of Rhode Island, the Univocal Legislative Minority Advisory Coalition (ULMAC), and the Black Contractors Association – for whom greater minority representation in the state workforce and state contracts is a priority.
The key provisions of Executive Order 13-05 are:
1. The Director of the Department of Administration shall review all divisions and offices within the Department charged with facilitating equal opportunity employment and minority business enterprises and shall make recommendations to the Governor to improve collaboration between these offices and all Executive Branch Departments to ensure these programs are more effective. These recommendations shall encourage measures of quality and accountability in equal opportunity and affirmative action hiring and minority business enterprise procurement as allowed by law. In addition, these recommendations shall include strategies for recruiting, hiring, promoting and retaining a more diverse workforce. The Director shall submit these recommendations to the Governor for approval on or before August 1, 2013. All Executive Branch Departments shall comply with the Director's recommendations and shall cooperate fully with taking steps to increase minorities in the State's workforce and increase the usage of minority business enterprises with State contracts.
2. Every State agency, in partnership with the Office of Equal Opportunity, shall track and maintain hiring data as part of the agency's performance management functions. Each agency shall provide the Office of Equal Opportunity, which shall coordinate with the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Performance Management and the Office of Outreach and Diversity, with a plan for improving hiring of minorities no later than October 1, 2013.
3. The Division of Purchases Minority Business Enterprise Compliance Office shall identify State contracts and sub-contracts that could increase the number of minority-owned businesses participating in State work where strategic efforts can be undertaken. Each agency shall provide a list of contracts and sub-contracts that should be reviewed for MBE recruiting potential as part of the plan which shall coordinate with the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Performance Management and the Division of Purchases Minority Business Enterprise Compliance Office on or before December 1, 2013.
4. The Director shall prepare an annual report to the Governor due on August 1, 2013 and every August 1 thereafter, for the prior fiscal year, demonstrating the State's progress in minority employment and minority business enterprise procurement and any recommendations for continued improvements in these programs. This report shall take into account the Affirmative Action Plans that are submitted by every state agency on an annual basis.
5. The Department of Administration and the Human Resources Outreach and Diversity Office shall develop and conduct a diversity training program within one year of the effective date of this Order. For future hires, such training may be part of the standardized orientation provided to new employees.
PolicyLink and PERE (University of Southern California's Program for Environmental & Regional Equity) recently released an Equity Profile of Rhode Island. According to the profile, over the past 30 years, Rhode Island's population has increased from seven percent to twenty-four percent people of color. In addition, in just the last decade, Rhode Island's Latino population grew forty-four percent, adding almost 40,000 residents. The Asian and African-American populations also grew by twenty-eight percent and twenty-three percent respectively, and by the year 2040 the population of the state as a whole is projected to be forty-one percent people of color. The Chafee Administration has made progress on minority representation in state government. For example, state government workforce was at 14.52% total minorities when Governor Chafee took office in January 2011, compared to 15.1% today. The Governor has also kept his pledge, made as a candidate, to double the number of female appointments. As of last year, women held 33% of board and commission appointments, versus 15% in 2010. Of the 462 board and commission appointments made by Governor Chafee, 209 have been women. Additionally, four of the Governor's seven senior staff members are female, as are seven cabinet directors.