Discussion on Community Diversity and Workforce Potential
Release Date: 02/07/2007

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Session on Feb. 8-9 to explore demographic trends and opportunities OMAHA, Neb. The Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, the Urban League of Nebraska, the Chicano Awareness Center and Alegent Health will sponsor a Decision Accelerator session Feb. 8 and 9 designed to build consensus on strategies to effectively leverage the value of diversity for the Omaha community and local employers. The session will include approximately 70 individuals representing business, education, not-for-profits, community service agencies and government. “Our goal is to begin developing a coordinated plan, as well as to explore opportunities for collaboration in the development and retention of a diverse and dynamic workforce,’’ said Joe Gerstandt, diversity director for Alegent Health. “At Alegent Health, we recognize that attention to these issues is not only critical to attract and retain talented employees, but also in fostering the innovation and quality necessary to meet the needs of those we serve.’’ Specifically, the two-day session will focus on:
  • Examining the significant developments and trends influencing diversity over the past 10 years as well as emerging trends for the coming decade.
  • Sharing organizational best practices and exploring opportunities for collaboration.
  • Creating a vision and a timeline with clearly identified milestones to measure success in achieving a more productive, inclusive and adaptable workforce.
  • Gerstandt said there are significant demographic shifts taking place in terms of race, ethnicity, gender and age. “This is impacting the makeup of the workforce as well as consumer buying power and business start ups in this country. At the same time, employers are asking their employees to be more engaged, more collaborative and more innovative. It is time for an increased focus on both diversity and inclusion,” Gerstandt said. “An organization has the potential to establish a competitive advantage, regardless of its size or geographic location, through its people and its organizational culture,” said Gerstandt. “We believe that the same is true for communities and this is an opportunity for Omaha to take another big step forward.” “Omaha has been very aggressive in its own re-development during the past five to 10 years and this is an effort to focus on the human capital part of the equation,” said David Brown, president and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce. “Ultimately if the Decision Accelerator process is successful, it will help area businesses become industry leaders in the area of diversity and inclusion and it will make Omaha stand out to both potential employees and potential employers that may be interested in coming here,” said Rebecca Valdez, executive director of Chicano Awareness Center. The Decision Accelerator session will be held at Alegent Health’s Right Track facility, designed expressly for this innovative way to create shared visions and collaborative solutions. The process, which Alegent Health has adapted from Silicon Valley and the technology industry and applied to a variety of health care and community initiatives, involves real-time identification of key issues; decisions about desirable outcomes and the establishment of benchmarks to quantify progress. Alegent Health is the largest not-for-profit, faith-based healthcare system in Nebraska and southwestern Iowa with nine acute care hospitals, more than 100 sites of service, over 1,200 physicians on its medical staff and roughly 8,500 employees. Alegent Health is making healthcare better with an exceptional commitment to quality and by providing patient focused care for the body, mind and spirit of every person consistent with its faith-based mission. Alegent Health continues the health ministry begun by its sponsors, Catholic Health Initiatives and Immanuel Health Systems, more than a hundred years ago. At Alegent Health, patients and their families find a continuum of care, from women's and children's services, primary care, wellness counseling, and senior care to cardiovascular services, orthopedics, oncology, physical rehabilitation, home care and behavioral health. For more information about Alegent Health, visit Alegent.com or call 1-800-ALEGENT.