MMAC figures show impact of workforce diversity initiative

Milwaukee-area companies participating in an MMAC workforce initiative are hiring diverse employees more quickly than other businesses in the region. 

That’s according to figures released yesterday by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce on the Region of Choice consortium, a group of about 125 businesses employing more than 125,000 total workers. 

“Too often we hear that there are two Milwaukees that exist — one where there is prosperity, and one where there is not for certain populations,” MMAC Executive Vice President Julie Granger said yesterday during a webinar. “This is an effort, really, to close some of those racial disparity gaps that the region experiences very acutely.” 

Participating companies are sharing strategies for improving recruitment, retention and advancement for diverse talent, with a focus on Black, Hispanic and Latino communities. MMAC has been tracking employment figures for the participating companies since 2018 to gauge the impact of these efforts. 

The percentage of these companies’ workers who are Black, Hispanic or Latino has risen from 15.4 percent in 2018 to 17.3 percent in 2021. That’s a 12.3 percent increase over that period. By comparison, the percentage increase in diverse hiring among all metro area companies reporting data to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was 1.7 percent over a similar period. 

Meanwhile, the share of Black, Hispanic and Latino people in management roles among ROC companies rose from 6.9 percent in 2018 to 8.7 percent in 2021, according to the MMAC figures. That’s a 26 percent increase — well above the 6 percent increase reported to the EEOC for employers in the region. 

“These companies that are participating, sharing best practices, working collaboratively and doing the work through the surveys, are progressing further than other companies in the region,” MMAC President Tim Sheehy said during the webinar. “So we are doing something right here.” 

Still, he added this isn’t a “mission accomplished” moment. 

“We’re standing here saying we’ve made progress,” he said. “We have a lot more room to grow, and we want to stay at this and continue to learn.” 

See more on the initiative here: 

–By Alex Moe