Supporting Diversity & Inclusion

By Beverly Jackson
Director, Human Resources

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A group of Riderwood employees attend an English Language Training Class in the Village Square Music Room in March 2018. (Photo by Chris Taydus)

The month of May brings us the opportunity to celebrate and embrace the Erickson Living value of Diversity. At Riderwood we are blessed to have residents and staff representing many areas of the world. It is inspiring to see so many individuals with such diverse backgrounds living and working together in our community.

However, as Erickson Living’s Diversity value notes, simply being together, even harmoniously, is not enough. We must demonstrate acceptance of our differences by making an effort to “understand and embrace a wide variety of traditions, cultures and preferences” and “consistently welcoming and acknowledging diverse thoughts, ideas and input.”

To truly understand and embrace diversity, we must gain perspective by looking at a situation from another person’s point of view. What do you think you would find most difficult if you were in a different country, not to simply visit, but with the goal of making that country home for you and your family? The first barrier for most would be communication. Successful communication is essential and at the core of both professional and personal relationships.

For that reason, Riderwood began offering English language training in March 2018. This training is available to all employees as well as their family members for a very nominal fee and is provided by New American Workforce in partnership with Montgomery College. This 16-week course allows staff to enhance their English language communication skills and become more active participants in our community. When the class started many students were shocked and elated that we would do this for them. Recently, the New American Workforce representative stated “Class was great this week! All students attended and were very engaged.”

George Washington Carver observed “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong; because someday in your life you will have been all of these.” We are a diverse workforce with employees at all of these levels. We are a stronger organization not because we are diverse but because we value and embrace our diversity.

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