Make DIVERSITY Possible
SCWIST has been working with STEM organizations to attract diverse talent and create inclusive workplace cultures where everyone thrives.
Atlantic EDI Advancement
Our Make Diversity Possible workshop was delivered recently as part of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists – New Brunswick‘s annual general meeting and professional development conference in February of 2023. The session included key findings and proposed actions from the Diversity by Design workshop held for 130 engineers and geoscientists in the Atlantic region in December of 2022. Over 200 participants learned how to advance equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in their workplaces.
As a first step, participants were asked to reflect on why EDI is so important and how they could address barriers.
“Think of your organization as an ecosystem. The more biodiversity there is, the stronger the ecosystem,” said one respondent.
“Leadership and organizational commitment are absolutely critical to success,” said another. “[We need] a coordinated plan from top to bottom … to change organizational culture and promote an acceptance of diversity.”
With these thoughts in mind, participants then took to brainstorming ways they could advance EDI in their workplaces. They came up with several ideas they could begin implementing, including creating awareness, educating and sharing knowledge, attracting and recruiting diverse talent, addressing bias in the workplace, providing support networks, mentoring and allyship, and implementing policies to support diversity and create inclusive workplace cultures.
“We need to be willing to spend personal capital and call out barriers when we encounter them,” summarized one participant.
“It was interesting to see the results of the unconscious bias activity and survey questions we did before the workshop and hear about the experiences of others related to inclusion and challenges,” said one participant after the workshop concluded.
“This training should be provided for more engineering companies, and senior leaders should participate to demonstrate their commitment to EDI in STEM,” added another.
“I liked how there were multiple types of interaction,” said another participant. “[It] had me thinking more deeply.”
Supporting Future EDI Champions
This Atlantic workshop series also included a session for senior engineering design students at the University of New Brunswick (UNB).
When asked about EDI, the UNB senior engineering design students had strong feelings about its importance.
“Different backgrounds make people think differently,” said one student.
“Humanity as a whole is diverse and we need to respect that,” added another.
Perhaps their reaction came from the fact that most participants indicated that they had experienced some form of bias and discrimination related to their age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical disability, mental health, religion, neurodiversity and social/economic status.
As a part of the workshop, the students were provided with EDI resources. The students were thankful, as over half of them had indicated their top priorities during the beginning of their careers felt within the EDI realm: pay transparency/pay equity, workplace harassment policies and skills training/professional development opportunities. Mentoring programs, inclusive culture norms and team-building events also ranked high in importance.
Make an impact in your workplace
Are you a life science research organization? An engineering consulting firm? A software technology company? An entrepreneurship incubator? A professional association of engineers, geoscientists or applied mathematicians? A cohort of senior engineering design students in university? A STEM company that wants to attract more diverse talent to your team?
Then you too can benefit from our Make DIVERSITY Possible program, which includes access to our Diversity Awareness Tool, Diversity by Design Workshop and Roadmap of Solutions to advance equity, diversity and inclusion in your workplace. Contact us for more information or to book a workshop for your team!
Dive Deeper with SCWIST
Participants can also explore our STEM Diversity Champions Toolkit, Make Possible mentoring community, participate in our annual STEM Career Fair and benefit from job ads enhanced with inclusive language to attract more diverse talent when you post job ads on the SCWIST Job Board.