Around this time last year, we shared our desire to work on improving the diversity among our clinicians and staff, bringing more men and people of color into our Hello family. We knew it would be a tough and slow journey. Consider the following:
- The American Speech-Langauge Hearing Association (ASHA) reports that 96.3% of SLPs identify as female and 92.1% identify as white.
- The American Occupational Therapy Association reports 85.3% white/Caucasian membership
- The National Association of School Psychologists reports that 83% of School Psychs are female and 87% are white.
Currently, our Hello workforce is 92% female and 94% white. So, as you can see, we still have work to do to even match the national numbers on race and gender among our licensed professionals.
Our licensed folks must have advanced degrees. It is easy for us to say that, because the universities giving these degrees are the first step in recruitment, their shortcomings are an excuse for our difficulties recruiting men and people of color. We must strive to not let it be.
I recently walked into a local big corporate bank and was reminded of the power of conscious hiring practices. The diversity of the workforce behind the counter impressed me. Not only were there equal numbers of men and woman but there was a great mix of ethnicities present as well. This workforce stood out to me because the bank was definitely not in a diverse neighborhood location. My first thought was, “If banking that has been represented by middle-aged, white males for so many years can change their workforce, so can we!”
It won’t be easy and it won’t happen quickly but we will continue to reflect on our practices and find ways to improve. We have recently partnered with a local high school to provide an internship for students interested in the field of speech-language pathology. We hope to be able to give opportunities to young people who otherwise might not see themselves in the profession. We have also realized that while we continue to focus our efforts on diversifying within our clinicians, we also hire from time to time in marketing, billing, social media, admin support, and more. Last year, we hired an intern through the Emerging Leaders Internship program for the first time (read his blog post here!). After a great first experience, we have committed to hiring a new Emerging Leaders intern this summer.
We still have much work to do. But I am proud that we have shifted our thinking over the last year to see that every job posting is an opportunity to show all people, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability what working for The Hello Foundation is all about!