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|Increasing Diversity Within The Progressive Community|
Background & History
Democratic GAIN was founded just over ten years ago as an association to support the individuals and organizations within the Democratic and progressive community who make politics their profession. We work tirelessly to promote and expand the pool of individuals doing this work and to support organizations as well to make our collective community stronger.
Over the past decade we have trained over 15,000 individuals and helped more than 10,000 find jobs in all 50 states (and a few other countries).
In that time we have also worked to address the institutional and epidemic lack of diversity in our collective workspace through our trainings, events and professional development programs.
And while we've recorded successes, they are only relative to the commitment of funding, participation and support for these types of trainings and events from progressive campaigns and organizations.
In short, we've made some progress, but much work is still needed to address and correct this wide scale deficiency in our professional community. That is why we are redoubling our efforts and build sustainable programs that empower and cultivate progressive leadership within the Rising American Electorate (RAE).
Defining the Problem
As a movement, progressives actively advocate for removing barriers, which play a role in preventing minority groups from fully realizing their potential in society. In order to most effectively address these barriers a focused effort must be directed to the empowerment of affected communities. But ironically, while this important work takes place daily through government, campaigns and organizations, there is a lack of well-trained, knowledgeable and diverse staff to support the work. There are several causes that we believe lead to this phenomenon.
No one entity has taken the lead on such a project: This is not to say progressive organizations do not see this as a priority because many do. However, it is hard for organizations to see past their own staffing needs in order to focus and act on the larger systemic problem facing the entire community.
A lack of collaboration: Ironically, many organizations find themselves in competition with each other for the limited diverse staff available. That stoking of competition limits the ability to cultivate and place diverse talent hurting both employers and potential employees. We should instead foster an atmosphere of communication and collaboration that will help meet the staffing needs of the progressive community.
Absence of a multi year commitment to recruit and retain diverse talent: Too often our hiring practices are short sighted as we staff up for the next campaign or initiative and just as quickly staff down when it is over. While this makes sense from a budgetary standpoint it wreaks havoc on the ability to keep diverse staff and properly prepare them for a career in progressive politics.
The insular nature of politics: Often times it easier for us to hire familiar faces – people we have worked with before or who are colleagues recommend to us. It makes sense to want trusted staff in a foxhole, but it limits the opportunities we have to expand our reach and find new, diverse professionals who are just as eager and capable to fight the good fight.
Our Specific Plan
Democratic GAIN interacts with job seekers and employers regularly, providing a unique perspective about organizations' needs. Our goal is to take that experience and serve as diversity recruitment, retention and placement center for the progressive movement, providing them with a vetted pool of diverse talent. Specifically, we propose:
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