The Maine Municipal Association (MMA) is hosting a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Cohort Program aimed at providing “a more intimate trajectory toward understanding how to facilitate and lead such DEI efforts in Maine’s communities,” according to an email sent out by the organization earlier this week.
The MMA is “a voluntary membership organization offering an array of professional services to municipalities and other local governmental entities in Maine.”
Funding for the DEI training program will be provided by the Harold Alfond Center for the Advancement of Maine’s Workforce, part of the Maine Community College System.
It is also noted in the email, however, that should workshop participants fail to properly submit the required demographic survey and program evaluation in a timely manner, the MMA “may invoice your municipality for the full cost of the training.”
The trainings will be provided by Dustin Ward, a New Gloucester Selectboard Member and the founder of “It Is Time, LLC”, a racial equity consulting firm.
According to the email sent by the MMA, the program aims to provide municipal-level officials with:
- “A better understanding of Racial Identity, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts that go beyond performative action”
- “A deeper growth in skill sets that aid in facilitation and leadership”
- “A foundational network that can be further utilized in ongoing DEI or other Racial Equity efforts”
The cost of attendance for MMA members is $265 and $530 for non-members.
The program consists of four scheduled, half-day sessions and one “off-site opportunity.”
Each of the four scheduled sessions has a different point of emphasis:
- Opening Our Individual Selves to DEI: This session aims to “lay the groundwork” for future sessions, “set foundational understandings” of key terms, and establish “where DEI currently stands within the larger context of the conversation.” According to the MMA, “members should be expected to come with an open mind and desire to reframe thinking along with questions and ideas that will shape future sessions.”
- Going Into The Communities (Field Trip): During this session, participants will be “engaging with a local community to better see and feel what it means to implement DEI efforts.”
- Learning: This session, which will be held on Zoom, is set to focus on teaching participants about the “information that often goes missed when it comes to Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.” It also aims to teach municipal officials about what “it looks like to gather groups towards a common understanding of ideas and issues.”
- Facilitation of Empowerment: The final session of the program seeks “not just enhance facilitation skills, but practice them in real time.”
The “off-site opportunity” will allow municipal officials to meet with “groups of Equity Advocates” and “engage with Cohort members to debrief on what has been learned.”
These sessions will take place between August 23 and November 13 of this year.
Read the Full Email from the Maine Municipal Association