2021 CivicSpark Racial Equity Action Plan

Below is the CivicSpark Racial Equity Action Plan (REAP) – Program Area Goals and Actions. The Action Plan addresses 5 Program Areas: Fellow Recruitment and Hiring, Fellow Supervision and Support, Fellow Training, Partnerships, and Staff Culture and Program Support. The action plan categories are defined below:

  • A goal is the outcome that the CivicSpark program intends to realize for each program area.
  • An action is a concrete step that CivicSpark staff will take to accomplish the goals for each program area. 
  • The timeline is the time period in which the CivicSpark team will address the action. The time periods are: Short-term (0-3 months); Medium-term (4-11 months); and Long-term (12+ months).
  • Accountability refers to the staff position or body that is responsible for the action and/or is accountable for its completion.
  • A performance measure refers to the qualitative or quantifiable metric of progress toward the goal.

Fellow Recruitment and Hiring

Vision

Develop a recruitment, selection, and hiring process that counteracts staff and partner biases, promotes equitable hiring practices, and addresses the root causes of inequity in the Fellow stipend and compensation structure.

Progress to Date

Building an equitable and inclusive recruitment process is critical to ensuring that BIPOC candidates facing historic and structural barriers to Fellowship opportunities are aware of the program, encouraged to apply, considered fully throughout the recruitment process, are fairly compensated, and provided support and inclusion once hired. Our efforts to improve recruitment practices to date include: adjusting Fellow qualifications and degree requirements for the program (Associates Degrees now accepted), advocacy to increase the Fellow stipend and benefits on the state and national level, expanding recruitment efforts to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (​HACUs), efforts to secure sponsorship, Fellow stipend increase of 57% since the program started, trends toward more equal representation with a 123% increase in Hispanic Fellows and a 13% decrease in white Fellows, and addressing implicit biases in the interview process. Despite our efforts to improve our recruitment practices to date, we continue to see racial imbalances in our cohorts.

Goal Action Timeline Accountability  Performance Measures 
Increase the diversity of Fellow recruitment networks Adjust Fellow job positions to expand the relevant skills to include broader lived experience. Short-term (0-3 months) Operations Project Associate  Updated job description authorized by HR
Expand consideration to applicants with an associate’s degree and lived experience and clearly communicate this change in priority to partners.  Med-term (4-11 months) Senior Program Manager B.A. requirement is removed from job postings; A.A. degree eligibility clearly highlighted
Expand outreach for recruitment to BIPOC organizations that more directly and authentically engage with BIPOC community members. Med-term (4-11 months) Operations Project Associate  Increased engagement with CS social media (Instagram, Facebook, etc.); 

# of BIPOC recruitment partners; Develop a database of BIPOC and BIPOC-serving campus groups and organizations for outreach purposes

Expand and diversify outreach to campus affinity groups, programs other than Environmental Studies, and to community colleges Med-term (4-11 months) Operations Project Associate  # of university affinity groups engaged in CS recruitment; # of community college recruitment partners; # of non-sustainability programs engaged
Partner with other AmeriCorps programs and conduct market research to identify the barriers to program participation. Long-term (12+ months) Senior Program Manager # of AmeriCorps programs involved and engaged; increased knowledge of the barriers to AmeriCorps participation
Increase indigenous representation within the cohort. Med-term

(4-11 months)

Senior Program Manager # of indigenous candidates reached; # of indigenous applicants; # of indigenous candidates accepted to CS
Ensure recruitment materials highlight the comprehensive non-monetary and professional development benefits of participating in the program. Med-term (4-11 months) Operations and Development Manager # of non-monetary benefits identified; inclusion of benefits clearly outlined in recruitment materials 
Evaluate and share cohort demographic changes over time to identify where additional recruitment and hiring support may be necessary in order to increase the diversity of future cohorts Med-term (4-11 months) Operations Associate Updated Fellow demographics and data tracking system; # of cohort info sheets created
Address the inequities in the Fellow stipend and compensation structure Advocate for AmeriCorps legislation that addresses racial equity gaps and barriers for non-citizens, and increases economic benefits for members. Med-term (4-11 months) Program Director Incorporate federal and state policy engagement as a core job responsibility of the CivicSpark Program Director
Identify funding programs or scholarship opportunities that facilitate higher stipends or cost of living support. Long-term (12+ months) Program Director / Operations and Development Manager # of CS sponsors identified; # of CS sponsors engaged; # of sponsors willing to support CS; # of scholarship opportunities/funding mechanisms identified for Fellows to apply for; total amt of sponsorship funding secured
Assess internal program budget and partner match cost to allocate more funding to the Fellow stipend. Long-term (12+ months) Program Director Budget evaluation with identified cost reduction strategies and opportunities to generate additional revenue (in order to increase the Fellow stipend)
Identify ways to better support Fellows of color in securing well-paid jobs post-CivicSpark.  Med-term (4-11 months) Resource Coordinator Development of a list of strategies to support Fellows of color in determining their next steps post-Fellowship  (e.g. supporting Fellow informational interviews; hosting job fairs; promoting Fellows to potential employers; POC-specific salary negotiation training; fostering alumni connections; following up with Fellows 6 months out, etc.)
Explore the option of a three-quarter-time Fellowship position (1200 hours) to create flexibility for candidates with additional personal or familial responsibilities. Long-term (12+ months) Senior Program Manager Assessment of Fellow, staff, and partner interest in a three-quarter time Fellowship position
Decrease bias in the Fellow interview process Ensure that all staff and project partners share a consistent understanding of candidate requirements throughout the entire candidate screening process. Med-term (4-11 months) Operations Coordinator All staff and partners receive training on the Fellow candidate requirements and Fellow interview process
Create an Applicant ID # system to conduct a name and school-blind hiring. Med-term (4-11 months) Operations and Development Manager All applicant names and schools are redacted from the start of application through the entire hiring process; all staff and partners participating in the hiring process have received implicit bias training
Provide staff training to address implicit bias in the interview process, including assessing how CS staff review and rank candidates. Med-term (4-11 months) Operations and Development Manager Interview scripts are updated; staff is trained on interview protocol; analysis of candidate ranking is conducted. No significant difference in candidate ranking
Provide candidates additional context, guidance, and expectations prior to the interview process to support those with limited interview experience. Med-term (4-11 months) Operations and Development Manager A slide is added to the “what to expect section” of Fellow info sessions; guidance materials to guide Fellow interview prep
Explore opportunities to create a more inclusive experience for BIPOC candidates throughout the interview process (i.e., BIPOC candidate info session, offer to hire translators to accommodate first-generation backgrounds). Med-term (4-11 months) Operations and Development Manager List of strategies to increase support for BIPOC candidates throughout the interview process (e.g. creation of a BIPOC Fellow info session, the translator is on call for interviews)
Create a partner training on reducing implicit bias in hiring to provide greater support and guidance for partners in order to decrease bias in the partner interview. Med-term (4-11 months) Senior Program Manager # of partners trained each year; increase in # of BIPOC candidates that are selected/hired
Develop resources for partners to recruit Fellow candidates who are from or have extensive experience within the communities they serve Revise the partner recruitment package to increase local expertise applicants and promote CivicSpark Program locally. Med-term (4-11 months) Operations and Development Manager Creation of a revised recruitment packet to share with partners upon acceptance into the program
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