Diversity & Inclusion

D&I - Staff Photo


UCAN integrates diversity and inclusion efforts to engage our staff, our partners, our peers and our supporters. It is simply how we do business. Our progressive approach embraces cultural differences, which helps UCAN act as a catalyst for change and resist the status quo.

Inside the organization, UCAN sponsors nine voluntary affinity groups that bring together more than 120 employees to celebrate and share their diverse interests and characteristics. The groups, whose activities impacted 38% of all UCAN staff last year, provide members with a voice to influence agency goals and the opportunity to offer expertise to the organization.

As a culturally proficient organization, UCAN is led by a diverse and progressive Governing Board (51% ethnic minority; 33% female). Our commitment to diversity is also evident in our 500-person staff that is 70% female, 66% African American, 6% Latino. We are proud to reveal from our 2014 Employee Engagement Survey that 95% of employees agree or strongly agree that “UCAN makes efforts to help all employees understand and accept diversity as an asset” and that “UCAN is an attractive place to work for employees of diverse backgrounds.”

Diversity also permeated UCAN’s internal spending as we conducted $1.2 million in business with minority- and women-owned organizations this year.

Outside of UCAN’s offices, our diversity and inclusion efforts are helping us transition into the heart of the North Lawndale community where construction began in March 2014 on our new campus. Listening to our constituents and understanding the complicated dynamics of race, poverty and culture enabled us to respond with a Community Outreach Plan and Community Hiring Initiative that attracted more than 400 construction job applicants for a limited number of union jobs.

Engaging the community means hiring from the community. In addition to hiring a team of minority- and women-owned firms to design and build the campus, local contractors like North Lawndale native and Signal 88 Security franchisee Maurice Taylor and his team (nearly a dozen of whom live in North Lawndale) provided security at the construction site by employing qualified and well-trained local residents.

In terms of supplier diversity, UCAN is committed to awarding a minimum of 50% of campus construction and professional services contracts to minority- and women-owned businesses, and we are on a path to exceed this benchmark. Agency-wide, our commitment is underscored by the 20% year-over-year increase in supplier diversity spending in fiscal year 2014, which came on the heels of a 32% increase in the same spending in fiscal year 2013 compared to 2012.