Equipping employees to advance equity and social justice

King County is helping employees build their equity and social justice (ESJ) skills and knowledge by offering a new and updated suite of ESJ learning opportunities.

The Department of Human Resources’ Learning & Development (L&D) team is offering foundational ESJ learning opportunities throughout this year. In early 2020, the L&D team took on this important set of ESJ education work initiated by the Office of Equity and Social Justice (OESJ). With the onset of the pandemic, the team was able to quickly redesign and adapt ESJ curricula for online delivery to continue making learning accessible for both onsite and remote employees.

“During the last year, Learning and Development’s work has had to be agile and responsive to the changing landscape in terms of workforce needs and delivery of our learning resources,” said Ariana Bostian-Kentes, Learning & Development Manager. “Our team has done a great job of transforming our approach and adapting quickly to move our learning from the classroom environment to the virtual space, as well as creating new ways to continuously center equity and social justice learning in everything we do.”

The ESJ learning portfolio now includes Equity and Social Justice Fundamentals, Race: The Power of an Illusion, and  Building Gender Inclusive Spacesan additional formal training which focuses on the intersectionality of race and LGBTQ identities. All are offered once a quarter.

The team has also been hard at work developing new curriculum to be launched this year aimed at people leaders, and an ESJ facilitation training program to build this important capacity at the County.

Tynishia Walker and Keith Clarke, Equity and Social Justice educators
from Learning and Development

Leading that work is Tynishia Walker, former Equity and Social Justice Program Manager at OESJ and now one of the L&D team’s ESJ Educators. Informed by her experience leading ESJ learning at OESJ, Tynishia and the L&D team collaborated to design a strategy to support and sustain ESJ education across King County.

The ESJ Educators are also supporting and consulting on other areas of Learning and Development work. “Because of the ways in which race and racial disproportionalities are showing up in our community now and always, part of the work is ensuring that no matter the topic, our team is developing curriculum for, or facilitating an eye towards racial justice is woven throughout,” Tynishia said.

Keith Clarke joined the L&D team as the second ESJ Educator at the end of 2020. Most recently he worked as the ESJ Veteran Fellow in King County Information Technology (KCIT). Keith’s experience and long history of ESJ work with various organizations has made him a dynamic and valuable addition to the team. With the successful hiring of these two full time ESJ Educators, the L&D team will be able to help offer ESJ learning more readily and consistently to the County’s workforce.

You can learn more and sign up to attend these classes and other upcoming training opportunities on the Learning and Development trainings webpage or email KCTraining@kingcounty.gov. For other ESJ information and resources, check out the Office of Equity and Social Justice website.