A Diverse Table Setting
November 12, 2019
On the Table Greater Akron is a first-of-its-kind initiative, that through various events, brings together residents from all walks of life to share a meal and discuss meaningful ideas to strengthen the community. When the Akron Community Foundation recently brought the program to the West Akron Campus, FirstEnergy’s Coletta Ivery stepped up to host an event focusing on one of our company’s Core Values – Diversity and Inclusion.
A Distribution technician II at Ohio Edison, Coletta is a 2019 graduate of Leadership Akron, a nonprofit organization that identifies community leaders, informs them about the community and launches them into community involvement. “As a Leadership Akron alum, I wanted to become more involved with the community, so I was thrilled when asked to host a On the Table discussion,” she said. “After reviewing the topic of diversity, equity and social inclusion, I thought it would be interesting to see what ideas our community members have – especially with the heightened focus on diversity and inclusion.”
According to Coletta, the event was a lively discussion.
“We had a diverse group of attendees who shared valuable insight,” she said “We reviewed demographic data such as Akron ranks in the 52nd percentile for overall inclusion, but 73rd for racial inclusion In addition, only 15% of African American students are career and college ready, compared to 42% of students overall. These stats were surprising to us all.”
As a result, the group then focused on ways to close the gap on these metrics.
“Some community initiative ideas included encouraging students to embrace Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) studies; offering informational and career fairs focusing on jobs available in our own backyard; and providing financial literacy programs and workshops,” said Coletta. “We also stressed the importance of parent participation and how many may not know about the resources available.”
Coletta said the overall event was a success.
“I was extremely pleased with the turnout and the great ideas that came from the open discussion. I’m glad I was a part of this important initiative.”