If you’re here, you’re probably asking yourself what is JEDI? Look no further…you’ve come to the right place. This exciting new course was developed by Dr. Kwame Agyemang, Ph.D. whose studies explored the institutional and industry norms; shaping the work experiences of black and minority professionals in organizational settings, and how these norms can be disrupted. Along with countless published studies and research the JEDI journey was created. The JEDI badge was created for lifelong success where traditional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training and courses have failed in the past. This badge can help businesses live up to the DEI ideals they claim to practice. In this post we’ll: define JEDI, illustrate how businesses and higher–ed can implement the program, and provide the best practices for getting started with JEDI.
What is JEDI?
JEDI stands for Justice, Equity, and Diversity, Inclusion. Unlike other DEI training available, JEDI first focuses on how we (as a collective) got here before it dives into how it reshapes an organization into a justifiably diverse, equitable, and inclusive one. The Learning and Development team has partnered with Dr. Kwame Agyemang, Ph.D. to curate the JEDI journey to produce the badge. The badge encourages learners to think of their own biases. Every lesson is a step to better understanding the importance of becoming JEDI focused and then applying it while self-reflecting in the true form of the fieldX platform.
Why is JEDI Important?
With the current political climate and many social injustice movements occurring withing the past years, many companies all over the U.S. (and beyond) have started enacting various initiatives towards reforming the country’s work culture into a more diverse, equitable and inclusive one.
However, Corporate America has been steadily growing investment in diversity training for decades now with no direction of change. According to MIT, as of 2003, $8 billion worth of diversity efforts were spent by businesses nationwide. Although the diversity business continues to boom, actual diversity in terms of accurate representation of marginalized populations in the workforce has not done much shifting. As far back as the 1980’s, changes to non-white CEOs, law firm partners, board members seats, and Hollywood film writers/directors/actors have grown barley a percentage point.
In March 2018, the job site Indeed reported that postings for diversity and inclusion professionals had risen 35% in the previous two years. This statistic along with many others, shows the overwhelming demand and need for JEDI training.
Real Examples of JEDI
Now that we’ve gone over what JEDI is and why it’s important, here are a few examples of what it looks like, once it’s implemented:
- Actively seeking vendors, suppliers, customers, and clients from underrepresented groups.
- Exploring candidates from all educational backgrounds. Educational diversity is a critical part of diversity and inclusion at work. An individual who may only have a high school diploma might just fit in as much as someone with a degree from an Ivy league.
- Making an effort to bring on diverse individuals into leadership positions.
Tips and reminders for JEDI
Here are a few ways to best practice and approach JEDI within the workplace:
- Identify the problem, analyze the cause, propose solutions, and solve the problem.
- Engage other employees in fostering an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workplace by creating open dialogue.
- Measure progress by establishing goals for yourself and organization.
The JEDI course experience is rooted in a holistic approach to understanding how we got here, what’s needed to move from where we are to where we’d like to be. The course focuses on giving the learner the structure for reshaping their company or organization vs. training that simply has learners understand unconscious bias, discuss it with peers and reenact or demonstrate real-life scenarios. JEDI goes beyond the traditional DEI training and consulting methods; in a way that creates real structural changes in an organization, aligning it with the JEDI ideology. The fieldX L&D team along with Dr. Kwame Agyemang, Ph.D. created JEDI to aid organizations in transcending challenges of justice, diversity, equality, and inclusion. For more resources and information check out the JEDI home page on the fieldXperience website.