Village Government as a Model for Equity and Inclusion

The Village of Skokie Strives to be a Model Organization for Equity and Inclusion

The Village values a diverse workforce and works diligently to recruit, hire and retain a diverse workforce. The PW StandVillage routinely advertises job opportunities in 143 different locations to reach a diverse applicant pool. This list is regularly updated and expanded; several years ago, the Village added fraternities and sororities that are popular for Black or other ethnic groups.  

The 7.7% of the Village’s workforce that is Black is slightly greater than the 7% of the community’s population that is Black. The Village remains committed to having a diverse workforce in all ranks that reflects the community’s demographics.

The Skokie Police Officers and Firefighters are hired and sworn in by members of the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners, a diverse group of Skokie residents who are appointed by the Mayor and Village Board. The current and immediate past-chairpersons of the board are Black.

The Village is committed to reviewing policies and protocols across the organization to strengthen the organization’s equity and inclusivity, and also is committed to furthering our understanding of the community’s needs and expectations that may not have been met. 

Employee Equity Team
In fall 2020, the Village established an inter-disciplinary employee equity that meets regularly to discuss methods of increasing the Village’s equity and inclusivity in the workplace. The Employee Equity Team (Team) recently developed and distributed an anonymous survey on workplace equity and inclusion to all employees, with data received still under analysis. The Team is already in contact with Niles Township High School District 219 about increasing paid internship and job shadow opportunities for Skokie high school students. Plans also are underway to create a series of videos about Village programs and services, highlighting various career paths within local government for Skokie youth.

SEED Training 
To date, some 20 Village staff members have participated in SEED training (Seeking Educational Equity & Diversity) through the Skokie Cares initiative, and a total of ten staff members are currently enrolled in the training along with another 10 members of the Village’s advisory boards and commissions and two elected officials. The Village will encourage more employees, commissioners and elected officials to participate in future SEED cohort groups.

Community Involvement
The Village actively supports the Stand Against Racism and monthly Let’s Talk @ Lunch conversations regarding racism, both in partnership with the YMCA North Shore/Evanston. The Village also actively participates in and supports the annual Skokie Festival of Cultures as well as Coming Together in Skokie and Niles Township programs from 2010 forward that encourage cultural and racial appreciation and understanding.