Human Resources, Nonprofits, and Small Business & Startups

Local First producing workshop on equitable hiring

June 19, 2017
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Local First panel discussion
Grand Rapids-based Local First is a nonprofit that says it "fosters the development of a sustainable local living economy." Courtesy Local First/Tiberius Images

A local nonprofit will host a workshop for small business owners this week on how to develop inclusive hiring practices.

Grand Rapids-based Local First said today it will host Implementing Policies Promoting Inclusion and Equity from 3-5 p.m. on Wednesday at LINC UP, at 1167 Madison Ave. SE.

The workshop, which will feature a panel discussion, is part of Local First’s Measure What Matters series.


The workshop will explore the importance of supporting an inclusive local economy and provide resources for businesses looking to develop and implement equitable and inclusive practices.

“People are attracted to communities that embrace diversity and demonstrate inclusion,” said Paul Doyle, founder and CEO of Inclusive Performance Strategies and a workshop presenter. “We need to understand what it takes to keep people here once they’ve accepted a job or moved to Grand Rapids.”

During the workshop, participants will learn how to create an inclusion and equity statement and best practices for using it company-wide.

The workshop will also feature a panel of diversity and inclusion experts and consultants who will share insights, resources and information about equitable business practices.


Jill Vyn and Chris Smit, of DisArt, who will share insights about creating business practices that promote access and inclusion for people with mental and physical differences.

Dawn Helou, of Gordon Food Service, who will explain how to create written inclusion policies for businesses and ways to encourage conversations among employees.

Paul Doyle, of Inclusive Performance Strategies, who will walk participants through creating an inclusion and equity statement for their businesses.

Breannah Alexander, of Partners for a Racism Free Community, who will talk about creating a company-wide inclusion policy.

“Our panelists will provide valuable information and actionable steps for businesses looking to create and implement business practices that promote inclusion and equity within their business and community,” said Elissa Hillary, president, Local First.


The workshop is $10 for Local First members and $15 for non-members.

People can register for the event online.

Measure What Matters series

The Implementing Policies Promoting Inclusion and Equity workshop is the next installment in Local First’s 2017 Measure What Matters series, which is part of the nonprofit’s Good for Grand Rapids initiative.

The initiative aims to equip Grand Rapids companies with tools and resources to create high-quality jobs, stronger communities and a healthier Great Lakes region.

Other upcoming Measure What Matters Workshops

July 19: The Importance of Diversity in Small Business at Start Garden

Sept. 20:  Business Ownership Options at Atomic Object

Oct. 11:  Shifting to Local Supply Chains at Consumer’s Credit Union

Local First

Local First’s mission is to lead the development of an economy grounded in local ownership that meets the basic needs of people, builds local wealth and social capital, functions in harmony with the ecosystem and encourages joyful community.

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