March 14, 2023

In the fall of 2021, when NECC executives learned staff members of color were being stopped by police on the way to their overnight residential shifts, they reached out to police in the local communities to address the issue.

“We wanted to help local law enforcement officers understand our diversity while also building stronger relationships in the community,” said Chief Development Officer Jared Bouzan, MEd.

Meanwhile, NECC’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Fatou Njie-Jallow has been hard at work expanding awareness of DEI practices among the NECC community. In addition to leading the DEI Task Force, which has planned events celebrating Black History Month, LGBTQ+ month, and Juneteenth, Njie-Jallow has established employee resource groups (each group facilitator received seven hours of training) to provide a dedicated space for community, learning, and support for staff. She has helped evolve NECC’s promotional process by creating diverse hiring panels, adding a DEI question, and blinding candidates’ selection. NECC now offers a training in foundational concepts of DEI for all new hires. Njie-Jallow also spearheaded the development of a demographic survey, from which the DEI office will continue to learn and measure progress.

“DEI practices are central to fostering inclusion,” said Njie-Jallow. “Belonging is for everyone; our goal is to create an experience of belonging, which we can’t have without equity, inclusion, and diversity. Belonging results in higher engagement, revenue, retention, higher performing teams, and better outcomes for our students, consumers, and clients. Leadership must be the champions of DEI strategy — it must live within every leader of the organization and be embedded in everything we do. I believe NECC leadership is intentional in creating an inclusive culture.”

This story originally appeared in the FY 2021-22 Annual Report.