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Cambridge College launches diversity programs to empower business leaders

Cambridge College diversity programs student
The DEIB Certificate and MBA with a DEIB concentration (first in the nation) prepare business leaders for today's workplace needs.

Cambridge College is meeting the moment with a new online curriculum to equip business leaders with the skills to manage diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in the workplace.

While higher education institutions around the country have increasingly been offering courses in the DEI realm, Cambridge College leaders say such a focus on social justice has always been part of its DNA since its founding as a college targeting adult learners from diverse communities more than 50 years ago.

“Cambridge College has a strong platform for delivering high-quality virtual business degree programs that bring professionals together where they are in their careers and lives,” said Deborah Jackson, President of Cambridge College.

“The launch of these programs is an extension of our institutional dedication to social equity and justice and our history of providing professionals with educational experiences that advance their professional careers.”

The inaugural class of certificate graduates is wrapping up the three-course program in the next few weeks, with the next cohort  scheduled to start in May. The college is also offering Masters in Business Administration students a first-in-the-nation concentration in “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging” by taking the trio of course offerings along with their usual studies in business leadership, change management, marketing and finance.

Yvonne Montillo

Yvonne Montilla, the chief of staff for Children’s Services of Roxbury, manages 400 employees and decided to take the certificate courses in order to make her office more fully welcoming to workers of all backgrounds.

“I have an impact on the whole work culture and environment at a time we’re quickly growing and hiring new employees,” said Montilla, who earned her undergraduate degree at Cambridge College.

“For everyone to feel good, to feel seen, and to work in cohesion means learning not just ways to be inclusive towards everyone but to also look at yourself, recognize your own unconscious biases and become more understanding of others.”

She praised the DEIB curriculum for teaching how to embed diversity attitudes throughout an organization, how to follow DEIB business practices and the business economics of DEIB.

The national trend towards diversity programs in schools, colleges and workplaces has resulted in some places with a backlash – witness Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s proposal to remove DEI programs from the state’s public universities.

But that hasn’t slowed down the upswing in such initiatives, especially in the wake of the 2020 murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police that sparked widespread protests and a national racial reckoning.

According to a February report cited in USA Today, at least a half-dozen college across the country offer DEI degree programs or soon will, with another 100 listing diversity studies in their curricula

The educational offerings are being driven in part by growing demands from businesses for expertise in the subject. The same USA Today report cited figures showing that between 2015 and 2020, diversity and inclusion roles in the workplace have increased 71 percent globally. Statistics from Indeed.com, the online employment site, showed that DEI job postings increased 123 percent between May and September 2020.

For Yvonne Montilla, a mother of two raised by immigrant parents from Cuba and married to a Dominican expat, DEIB coursework at Cambridge College has already paid off for employees at Children’s Services, which offers a wide array of foster care, day care and teen empowerment programs.

“In the past, events surrounding Black History Month were usually organized and attended by the same group of people,” she said. “As a Black Latino woman running a majority Black and Brown worker agency, I didn’t recognize the value of reaching out and including people of all backgrounds in the events. Now we have a planning committee made of people of all backgrounds and more widely attended celebrations.”

Montilla said that she’s been touched personally by the lessons as well. “Becoming comfortable in telling my own story about the barriers I’ve encountered has helped me become a better leader in my job.”

Learn about the DEIB Leadership Certificate

Learn about the first-in-the-nation MBA with DEIB concentration

See article in El Mundo