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Gov. Dayton: Audit will look at state government's workforce diversity

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Gov. Mark Dayton has announced a first-of-its-kind audit that will look at the state government's workplace diversity – and how to make it better.

The independent review aims to make sure the state's workforce reflects the diversity of the people who live here, according to a news release Thursday. Dayton said he thinks the audit will help improve opportunities for Minnesotans of color, MPR News reported.

Local chapters of the NAACP had urged an audit like this to help address the racial and economic disparities that plague the state, and said this is a "step in the right direction," the release says.

“Our goal is to reestablish a commitment to cultural agility in our state government operations. Building a state workforce that is more reflective of the people it serves will enable effective work in cross-cultural situations, diverse cultural communities and eliminate institutional isms,” Jeffry Martin, president of the St. Paul chapter of the NAACP, said in the release.

The governor also announced a working group of 27 organizations and state councils, including local chapters of the NAACP (see a full list here), that will oversee the audit and offer recommendations to lawmakers.

What will the audit do?

It's an independent review of the past five years to see if the state has been administering the Procurement Act, Affirmative Action Act, and Human Rights Act as required, the release explains.

Then, the audit will offer recommendations to the administration to improve how it applies and enforces these laws to help eliminate the disparities in the state's workforce.

Gov. Dayton, the majority and minority leaders of the Minnesota House and Senate, and the working group will review the audit and decide what actions need to be taken.

And Dayton says he'll take responsibility for any "failings and deficiencies" the audit finds and work to make the improvements so when he leaves office, the changes are already in place, MPR News says.

The audit is expected to take a few months, with results expected before the start of the 2017 Legislature, according to the release.

This is the latest move by Dayton as he works to address racial and economic disparities in Minnesota. The governor continues to push for $100 million in funding for new initiatives that aim to expand opportunities for people of color, among other things.

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