As spring quarter capstone projects kick off, current MPA students may be asking themselves where their capstone will take them. For Ramona Nabors, MPA ’20 and Jenny Swearingen, MPA ‘20, their capstone, “Equity in Government: A Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Toolkit” led to the development of a recently published article entitled, Best Practices for Equitable Hiring in the Midst of COVID-19, in the Fall 2020 ASPA PA Times Vol. 6 Issue 2, "COVID-19 Public Service During a Pandemic."
Nabors and Swearingen discuss why equitable hiring matters throughout the article. They write, “Communities of color are experiencing a disproportionate impact from COVID-19, as their members are more likely to earn a low wage, work in the service industry and have little or no access to adequate health care. HR professionals have a role in correcting these injustices. Ensuring equitable hiring is a responsibility, both now and when we come through this pandemic.” Three key practices Nabors and Swearingen identified are “Creating an Equitable Job Posting,” “Having a Diverse Interview Panel,” and remembering to “Be Flexible.” They remind HR professions that they should constantly return to the question: “Does this policy reinforce oppression or does it help dismantle it and level the playing field?”
While Nabors and Swearingen focused on state government hiring, which could make a significant impact on their own agencies as public servants, their work has the potential to influence practices across sectors as well. Through their work, Nabors and Swearingen truly live the Evergreen MPA motto to “Be the Change.”