Diversity & Culture

Whats Next Civil RightsSpringfield leaders share the sentiment that diversity and inclusion are extremely important aspects of community culture. A lack of diversity in our community is a recognized barrier not only to our progress and growth, but also a poses a direct and negative impact to our ability to attract and retain a quality workforce.

The employees that all businesses hire also have families that will attend our schools, shop at our retail stores, support our sports teams, contribute to our community, attend our churches, and the list goes on.

The Bottom Line
Our community needs to increase diversity to continue to grow and prosper. Citizens thrive in healthy environments, free of the negativity of discrimination, where inclusion and respect for diversity is the daily norm.

Springfield’s public organizations have committed to improving our community’s diversity, and while many strides have been made, there is still work to do. The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, City of Springfield, City Utilities, Greene County, Springfield-Greene County Library District, Springfield Public Schools, Missouri State University and Ozarks Technical Community College have worked together extensively since 2011 on the specific objective of increasing Springfield’s diversity demographics.

This objective was outlined in a Competitive Assessment of Springfield Missouri, Market Street Services report.

The “Public Entities Diversity Initiative” began to help address the challenges to meeting that objective.

Initial Activities

  • Developed a public entities human resource group:
    • Cast a broad hiring net in order to attract a more diverse workforce
    • Implement diversity awareness programs to assist with the retention of a more diverse workforce
    • Administer all human resource-related activities within each entity without regard to the diversity its respected workforce
    • Produced articles for internal newsletters
    • Developed a separate newsletter
  • The Public Entities Diversity Initiative worked with the Minorities in Business group on an action plan focused on the following three areas:
    • Improving communications
    • Building capacity
    • Promoting accountability and measuring progress.
Community Diversity Efforts/Initiatives

FieldGuide 2030
A chapter focusing on Global Perspectives & Diversity is included in FieldGuide 2030, the community’s strategic plan.

The Springfield region will be a welcoming community that celebrates our similarities as well as our differences by valuing a commitment to service and economic prosperity through innovation and creativity with knowledge and leadership that improves the quality of life for all.

  • Goal 1: To have a mission statement that emphasizes and promotes diversity for the City of Springfield.
  • Goal 2: Move towards inclusiveness and create an environment that retains college graduates and young professionals.
    • Diversity Student Meet & Greet
    • Greater Springfield Race & Faith Collaborative Toolkit materials
  • Goal 3: Conduct a community assessment throughout the City of Springfield to identify existing diverse activities, coordinate, and bring awareness to diverse activities in the community.
  • Goal 4: Bring cohesiveness and some additional resources to the many ongoing, but fragmented, efforts aiming to promote the attractiveness and hospitality of Springfield to present and potential residents of diverse backgrounds.
    • Creation of the Greater Springfield Race & Faith Collaborative
  • Goal 5: Have a major event that promotes diversity in Springfield that attracts Springfieldians and people outside of the community to Springfield.Special events promote diversity, they bring neighbors into the dialogue, they increase creativity, they offer opportunities for civic pride, they improve our psychological well being. In short, they make cities better places to live.
    • Juneteenth Celebration
    • MLK 50th Anniversary Event
    • Springfield Jazz Festival
    • Springfield Sisters Cities events
    • Facing Racism workshops and exhibit

Economic Development

  • Public Entities Diversity Initiative
  • Minorities in Business – Seed capital fund for minority entrepreneurs
  • MIB – E-Factory presence and continued training.   
  • City Manager Greg Burris and City Utilities General Manager Scott Miller are leading an institutional initiative to advocate for more minority contracting/purchasing in our local organizations.

Education and Training

  • Facing Racism (Started by the Springfield-Area Chamber of Commerce and now continued at Missouri State University)
  • Biased-Based Training for Entire Police Dept. and New Recruits (ongoing)
  • Juneteenth (annual program)
  • Poverty Simulations
  • Youth Empowerment Summit (ongoing program – 12 years)
  • STEP Conference (ongoing program – 10 years)
  • Lumina Foundation Planning Grant for 60% diverse college graduation rate by 2025 (in process)
  • Leadership Springfield (ongoing program with an increase of Bridging Capital and Diversity)
  • CDL Training
  • Dr. Ruby Payne:  Understanding the Framework of Poverty

Employment Recruitment

  • CDL License Training (ongoing)
  • City Utilities Pipeline (program)
  • Missouri Career Center Meet and Greet (new program)
  • MIB Speakers and Workshops (ongoing)
  • Apprenticeship Programs
  • Made to Work that connects employers with jobseekers – a model developed by Convoy of Hope and and Central Assembly the 4th Tuesday of the month.
  • Missouri Career Center adjusting hours when needed to accommodate people needing services after they get off work.
  • Missouri Career Center aiding people with felonies in obtaining work 

Taking a Stand

  • Greater Springfield Race and Faith Collaborative (ongoing projects)
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. LK 50th Anniversary March and Celebration (project)
  • Changing America Exhibit (project)
  • Impacting Poverty Commission (in process)
  • Every Child Promise (in process - (Washington Avenue Baptist Church partnership) (program)
  • Bridge Springfield: Brother to Brother Program (new program)
  • Faith Voices of Southwest Missouri, an affiliate of Missouri Faith Voices.
  • Dr. Ruby Payne:  Understanding the Framework of Poverty.

Quality of Life

  • Jazz Festival with diverse headliners for the past two years and this year
  • More diverse stage plays
  • Crossover Concerts (high school and college students).