At the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are a top priority. That's why we have an entire office dedicated to advance this important area of corporate governance and society.
We celebrate the differences that make each North Carolinian, Commerce employee, culture, region, community, industry and business unique, and are committed to prioritizing DEI in everything we do – from employee relations to business practices, to collaborations and partnerships within the economic and workforce development community. Our goal is to lead by example in cultivating an environment – and state – where all people feel valued, respected, and safe to bring their whole self to work. North Carolina’s economy should be one that works for all people of this great state.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion have become buzzwords in the corporate world and beyond. But what does DEI really mean? And why is it important?
Within today’s business environment, diversity, equity, and inclusion are key elements for economic growth:
- High-profile companies and Fortune 500’s have long utilized inclusive workplace policies as proven recruitment and retention tools.
- Diversity and inclusion practices enhance employer reputation, increase productivity and overall job satisfaction, and boost employee morale.
- Businesses actively consider local laws and policies when making decisions about where to headquarter, relocate, or expand.
- Businesses are becoming increasingly vocal in their support for laws and policies that protect all of their employees and their families – whether at home, in the workplace, or in their communities.
- Companies are looking to our public officials to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of all residents while encouraging real economic growth that benefits everyone.
DEI is both a moral and a business concern; it is not just the right thing to do, it is also economically advantageous.
Did you know...
- 67 percent of job seekers consider workplace diversity an important factor when considering employment opportunities, and more than 50% of current employees want their workplace to do more to increase diversity. (Glassdoor, 2014)
- 83 percent of all millennials are more likely to be actively engaged if they believe their company stimulates a diverse and inclusive culture. (Deloitte Millennial Survey, 2018)
- Highly inclusive companies see 1.4 times more revenue, are 1.7 times more innovative, and notice 2.3 times more cash flow per employee. (Gartner, 2018)
According to McKinsey’s 2019 study, Diversity Wins, which analyzed performance data from 15 countries and over 1,000 companies:
- Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile—up from 21% in 2017 and 15% in 2014.
- Companies in the top-quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity outperformed those in the fourth by 36% in profitability, slightly up from 33% in 2017 and 35% in 2014 .
As these statistics illustrate, prioritizing DEI translates to increased revenue, innovation, employee retention, and job satisfaction. And companies who fail to support DEI consistently underperform and may consequently fall behind. Now is the time for systemic change. As the private sector becomes more competitive by the day, and the country’s population demographics continue to evolve, don’t be left behind. Learn how your company can strengthen DEI in the workplace and take steps toward greater social and economic success.
For more information on how you can implement good DEI practices in your company, please contact one of our DEI Office team members.
Chief Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Officer | Biography
DEI Program Analyst
The Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion — and Commerce overall — look forward to working with partners, both public and private, to achieve goals outlined within the state’s new First in Talent Economic Development Strategic Plan.
Equity is a key factor in job creation, workforce development and our state’s post-pandemic recovery. Together, we’ll work to ensure all North Carolinians reap the benefits of new investments and structural improvements. Collaborating with our partners statewide, we aim to improve the social determinants of health, like economic stability, environment, healthcare, and education, that may help or hinder an individual’s pathways to economic prosperity, as well as “…bolster a robust small business recovery, inclusive of opportunities for new entrepreneurs and women-and-minority owned firms,” which is one of the strategies identified in the First in Talent plan to prepare North Carolina businesses for success.
- GUIDE | Inclusive Language and Community Names (N.C. Department of Commerce, Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion)
- REPORT | Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters (McKinsey)
- WEBSITE | Triangle Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Alliance
- WEBSITE | North Carolina Office of State Human Resources, DEI
- GLOSSARY | Terms and Definitions (LGBTQ+ Resource Center, UCDavis)
- BIBLIOGRAPHY | Antiracism Resources (N.C. State University Libraries)
- WEBSITE | Pronoun Usage Resources (Pronouns.org)
- PODCAST | How to Reduce Bias in Your Workplace (Kim Scott and Trier Bryant, TED Talks Daily)
- ARTICLE | Who is APIDA Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (California State University San Marcos)
- VIDEO | What is the difference between Hispanic, Latino, and Latinx? (Fig. 1, University of California)
- ARTICLE | Adapt Your D&I Efforts to the Reality of the Crisis (Harvard Business Review • May 7, 2020)
- WEBSITE | Talking About Race (National Museum of African American History & Culture)
- ARTICLE | Privilege (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
April Celebrations and Observances
National Minority Health Month – April
This is a time to raise awareness about health disparities that continue to affect racial and ethnic minority populations and encourage action through health education, early detection, and control of disease complications. The 2022 NMHM Theme is Give Your Community a Boost! As noted by the HHS Office of Minority Health, COVID-19 vaccination, including a booster, is one of the strongest tools we have to end the COVID-19 pandemic that has disproportionately affected communities of color. Learn more about National Minority Health Month here.
Celebrate Diversity Month - April
Started in 2004 to recognize and honor the diversity surrounding us all. By celebrating differences and similarities during this month, organizers hope that people will get a deeper understanding of each other. Learn about different ways to celebrate Diversity Month here.
Autism Awareness Month – April
Established to raise awareness about the developmental disorder that affects an individual’s normal development of social and communication skills. Learn more about Autism Awareness Month here.
National Arab American Heritage Month – April
established to raise awareness about the developmental disorder that affects an individual’s normal development of social and communication skills. Learn more about National Arab American Heritage Month here.
Deaf History Month – March 13th – April 15th
This observance celebrates key events in deaf history, including the founding of Gallaudet University and the American School for the Deaf. Learn more about Deaf History Month here.
Lent - February 22nd – April 6th
In the Christian church, a period of penitential preparation for Easter. In Western churches it begins on Ash Wednesday, six and a half weeks before Easter, and provides for a 40-day fast (Sundays are excluded), in imitation of Jesus Christ’s fasting in the wilderness before he began his public ministry. Learn more about Lent here.
Ramadan – March 22nd – April 21st
An Islamic holiday marked by fasting, praise, prayer and devotion to Islam. Dates are dependent on the moon cycle and may vary across countries. Learn more about Ramadan here.
Passover – April 5th – April 13th
Eight-day Jewish holiday and festival in commemoration of the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. Learn more about Passover here.
World Autism Awareness Day – April 2nd
Created to highlight the need to help improve the quality of life of those with autism so they can lead full and meaningful lives as an integral part of society. Learn more about World Autism Awareness Day here.
Laylat al-Qadr – April 18th
The holiest night of the year for Muslims, is traditionally celebrated on the 27th day of Ramadan. It is known as the Night of Power and commemorates the night that the Quran was first revealed to the prophet Muhammad. Learn more about Laylat al-Qadr here.
UN Chinese Language Day – April 20th
Established by the UN Department of Public Information in 2010, seeking "to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six of its official working languages throughout the organization.” Learn more about UN Chinese Language Day here.
The Day of Silence – April 23rd
Students and allies take a daylong vow of silence to protest the actual silencing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students and their straight allies due to bias and harassment. Learn more about the Day of Silence here.
UN Spanish Language Day – April 23rd
UNESCO made the day official in order to celebrate multilingualism and cultural heterogeneity as well as to encourage equal use of all six of its official working languages throughout the organization. The day is also celebrated as a tribute to the writer Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Learn more about UN Spanish Language Day here.
May Celebrations and Observances
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (May)
A celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. A rather broad term, Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island). The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. Most of the workers who laid the tracks on the project were Chinese immigrants. Learn more about AAPI Heritage Month here.
Older Americans Month (May)
Established in 1963 to honor the legacies and contributions of older Americans and support them as they enter their next stage of life. The theme for 2022 is Age My Way, an opportunity for all of us to explore the many ways older adults can remain in and be involved with their communities. Learn more about Older Americans Month here.
Jewish American Heritage Month (May)
Recognizes the diverse contributions of Jewish people to American culture. The month originally began as Jewish American Week in 1980 and was later established as Jewish American Heritage Month in 2006 by President George W. Bush. Learn more about Jewish American Heritage Month here.
Cinco de Mayo (May 5th)
NOT MEXICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Mexican forced defeated the French army, which slowed Napoleon the the French’s advances to Mexico city. It is still celebrated to this day in the city of Puebla but is not widely celebrated in Mexico. Learn about this history of Cinco de Mayo and how to properly celebrate it here.
UN Portuguese Language Day (May 5th)
Officially established by the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries to celebrate the Portuguese language. With more than 265 million speakers spread through all continents, Portuguese is one of the most widespread languages in the world. Learn more about UN Portuguese Language Day here.
International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (May 17th)
Created in 2004 to draw the attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex people and all other people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics. The date of May 17th was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. Learn more about International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia here.
World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (May 21st)
A day set aside by the United Nations as an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to learn to live together in harmony. The day provides us with an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity. Learn more about World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development here.
Pansexual and Panromantic Visibility Day (May 24th)
A day to celebrate and recognize those who identify as pansexual and to bring to light the stories and experiences of pansexual people in society. Learn more here.