Elkhart County working to improve minority employment numbers

Less than 8 percent of the people on Elkhart County's payroll are minorities. To combat this lack of diversity, the county recently amended their affirmative action plan.

The 2-year initiative includes ideas like reaching out to minority groups through churches and community centers and making everyone more aware of government job availabilities.

The plan was adopted by the Elkhart County Council in November, and if followed, could ensure more equal employment opportunities.

"No discrimination that's the main goal no discrimination,” said Kris Kruger, chair of the Elkhart County Equal Employment Opportunity Committee, or E.E.O.C. "The committee is here to maintain and help the county maintain a diverse workforce that reflects the county's population."

The latest Elkhart County census estimates that whites make up just over 3 quarters of the population, but take up more than 90 percent of the positions in the county's government. Out of the over 1,000 employees in the Elkhart County government, only 80 consider themselves to be non-white.

"There should be items in place for equal opportunity, a diverse workforce and so forth," said Kruger. "We need to look at other ways that maybe we can get the word out further to help individuals to become interested or even know that there are opportunities."

"It's been a goal of ours for a number of years, but I'm not sure there's anything we really need to change," said Elkhart County Commissioner Mike Yoder.

Yoder has been a commissioner in Elkhart County for the last decade.

“We are looking for qualified people. We hire people, not race categories," said Yoder.

“Our goal is to strive to continue and try to be as diverse as possible," said Kruger.
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