DVR and SRC Host Annual Recognition Awards


Wilmington, DE, December 6, 2018 — The Delaware Department of Labor’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) will celebrate workplace inclusion by honoring the value and contribution of employees with disabilities and employers who hire them.

“Each year we are proud to honor businesses in our state that have created workplaces that are inclusive of employees from diverse backgrounds as well as those with disabilities,” said DVR Director Andrea Guest. “We also recognize employees with disabilities who have persevered and overcome barriers to achieve success in the workplace.”

Workplace inclusion is fostering a culture of diversity that includes hiring people with disabilities. Employers who create a culture of inclusion benefit from increased creativity and build diverse businesses that are prepared to face today’s challenges.

2018 Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and State Rehabilitation Council
Annual Workplace Inclusion Recognition Awards Luncheon

Monday, December 10th
11:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Dover Downs Hotel – Ballroom A
Dover, Delaware 19903

The mission of the Delaware Department of Labor Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is to provide individualized services to employers and people with disabilities, developing career pathways that link qualified employees to jobs, resulting in greater independence and a more inclusive workplace. The State Rehabilitation Council is a consumer driven, Governor-appointed organization whose mission is to provide support and advice to the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.


Governor Carney Announces Appointment of Chief Diversity Officer

Keith Hunt, who brings strategic human resources experience, starts December 18

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Friday announced the appointment of Keith Hunt to serve as the State of Delaware’s first Chief Diversity Officer. Hunt will lead the state’s efforts to define and cultivate equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout state government.

Photo of Keith Hunt, new Chief Diversity Officer
Keith Hunt will serve as Delaware’s first Chief Diversity Officer.

Hunt, who starts December 18, will report to the Department of Human Resources Acting Secretary, Saundra Ross Johnson, and manage the work of the Department’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion.

“I remain committed to creating a work environment that is inclusive, diverse, and representative of all Delawareans,” said Governor Carney. “The Chief Diversity Officer will play a vital role in transforming the state’s diversity and inclusion strategies, and continue our work to ensure our state government values its employees and is representative of all of the people we serve.”

The Department of Human Resources and the Division of Diversity and Inclusion were created by House Bill 4.

Governor Carney signed the legislation in July 2017 to help confront issues important to state employees and improve the delivery of human resources services. Acting Secretary Johnson led a national search to select a Chief Diversity Officer candidate with a deep understanding of the complexity and multiple dimensions of diversity, inclusion, and equity.

“I am confident that with Keith’s extensive Human Resources experience and proven success in the private and public sectors, he will work collaboratively with employees and community stakeholders to create a different and finer work culture for state government,” said Acting Secretary Johnson.

Hunt served in several strategic human resources leadership roles. Since 2004, he served as Managing Director of Human Capital Solutions, Inc., a human resources and organizational development consulting agency that serves Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, government, and nonprofit organizations. Previously, he led employee relations as an Assistant Vice President at CIGNA, Inc.

During his career, Hunt has helped translate business vision and strategy into organizational capabilities for success with a focus on business process improvement, people policy development, change management, people and team development, diversity and inclusion, and human resources talent management systems.

“I am looking forward to joining the Human Resources team as we work in partnership with all the state leadership, employees, and key stakeholders in bringing about a diverse and inclusive workplace environment,” said Hunt.

The appointment of a Chief Diversity Officer builds on Governor Carney’s efforts to confront discrimination. In April, as a result of Governor Carney’s Executive Order Six, a uniform anti-discrimination policy across state government was established to allow state agencies to consistently respond to reports of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in the workplace.

The Action Plan for Delaware, created by Governor Carney’s transition team, recommended the establishment separate Office of Human Resources, headed by Cabinet-level official, to give state employees a greater voice in decisions that affect them, to encourage diversity within personnel and of opportunity in the state workplace, and to ensure uniform enforcement of policies.



Data looks at racial diversity in Delaware teacher and school leader workforce

Data highlights how well Delaware’s teacher and administrator workforce reflects the diversity of its student population.

The Delaware Department of Education released data recently examining the extent to which Delaware’s teacher and administrator workforce reflects the diversity of its student population. Key findings from ‘The Set’: Racial Diversity in DE’s teacher and school leader workforce include:

  • Delaware’s teacher and school leader workforce is much less diverse than its student population
  • While the student population is getting more diverse, teacher and school leader workforce diversity has remained largely stagnant
  • Novice teachers of color are retained at lower rates than white teachers
  • Large gaps exist in every district between the proportion of students of color, and the proportion of their teachers of color

Delaware is expected to be one of the most diverse states in the nation by 2060. With around 9,000 teachers and over 500 school leaders, Delaware’s public education system serves over 130,000 students.

Media Contact: Alison May,, (302) 735-4006


Governor Markell announces next step to support diversity in state employment and a welcoming environment for all employees

Wilmington, DE – Today, Governor Jack Markell announced the latest step in his administration’s support to improve upon the working climate in State government and toward ensuring that, as Delaware’s largest employer, the state becomes a model for addressing any form of workplace discrimination.

“Delaware’s government must reflect the rich diversity of the community we serve,” Governor Markell said. “I remain committed to ensuring that we foster a healthy, supportive, and responsive work environment for all employees, and as part of that work we have hired Ivy Planning Group, a leading management consulting firm, to conduct an independent, comprehensive review of State policies, procedures, and organizational structure. They will support our effort to create a more diverse and inclusive environment where employees are confident they will be treated fairly.”

This summer, the State announced that as part of its ongoing efforts to create an inclusive work environment for public employees, it would retain an outside firm to conduct an independent review of state human resources policies and provide recommendations to state leaders. Last week, the Governor met with senior leaders and staff of Ivy Planning Group to commit the State’s full support to the firm and to emphasize the importance of its work for state employees and the citizens they serve. That meeting kicked off Ivy’s work, and the firm anticipates completing its mission as well as presenting a final report and recommendations to the Governor by the end of the year.

In addition to its review of State policies, procedures, and organizational structure, the State seeks recommendations from Ivy regarding the organizational structure of state Human Resources functions and the roles and responsibilities of other State groups related to Equal Employment Opportunity, Anti-Discrimination, and Affirmative Action matters. Its specific scope of work related to hiring, retention, promotion, and discipline matters includes, but is not limited to:

• Extensive document review;
• Evaluation of State government workforce data;
• Site visits across state agencies;
• Interviews with agency directors, executive teams, and human resources staff;
• Survey, focus groups and interviews, as appropriate, with a diverse cross-section of State employees who will remain anonymous across every department and agency;
• Engagement with community members and other stakeholders; and
• Best practice research.

“Ivy Planning Group believes that diversity and inclusion represent a significant workforce, workplace, and community opportunity for the State of Delaware,” said Janet Crenshaw Smith, President of Ivy Planning Group. “We look forward to helping the state identify and remove any barriers, and leverage any internal or external best practices to realize its vision for diversity and inclusion.”

Today’s announcement follows sustained work by the Markell administration to make Delaware the best possible place to work. Those efforts have included:

• An e-mail sent by the Governor to all state employees encouraging them to attend public hearings convened by Delaware faith leaders and others;
• Thorough investigations of specific personnel matters reported to state officials;
• Development of an online Diversity and Inclusion toolkit, which provides agencies with additional resources regarding policies, strategies, and best practices;
• Funding secured to retain a third-party to conduct a statewide climate assessment; and
• A significant increase in state employee participation in diversity-related courses and unconscious bias training.

“We celebrate our state government’s diverse workforce but are mindful that we can and must do more,” the Governor said. “I have been concerned by reports I have received that state employees at times feel as though their advancement options may be limited or that their recourse for grievance must too often be made through the manager that they believe is the source of the problem. We’re committed to leading the way to being a fully inclusive employer through strong policies and consistent practice, as well as a welcoming culture, and I look forward to receiving and implementing the recommendations presented to us at the conclusion of this review.”

Governor Markell Hosts Ramadan Iftar Dinner at Woodburn

Photos from the dinner

Becomes first Delaware Governor to celebrate Muslim holiday by hosting an Iftar

Dover, DE – Last night, Governor Jack Markell was joined by Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen and Delaware State Housing Authority Director Anas Ben Addi, along with more than two dozen guests representing mosques from across Delaware, for a Ramadan Iftar dinner at Woodburn.RamadanIftarDinner

The Iftar is the evening meal after sunset that concludes the daily fasting during the month of Ramadan. For observers, the Iftar dinner and Ramadan are a time to reflect on humanity and to reaffirm commitments to helping the less fortunate.

“The diversity of Delawareans has always been a source of great pride and strength,” said Governor Markell. “This Iftar dinner celebrates that diversity while recognizing the Muslim community in Delaware, which has given so much to the state and the region through a spirit of kindness and compassion as well as through a commitment to serving all of those in need.”

Governor Markell is the first Governor of Delaware to host such an event, which he hopes becomes an annual event at Woodburn following his term in office – a sentiment shared by those in attendance last night.

“We were excited to take part in the first Governor’s hosted Ramadan Iftar, this initiative shows the continued efforts by Governor Markell to be inclusive and supportive,” added Usman Sandhu, President of the Islamic Society Of Central Delaware. “We hope that this initiative will set a trend that will continue beyond the Markell administration.”

Governor Markell has long celebrated diversity in the first state. In 2012, he created the Governor’s Delaware Council of Faith-Based Partnerships. The council fosters the opportunity for leaders of different faiths to meet and work together in order to ensure community needs.

“We admire Governor Markell’s initiative to sponsor this Ramadan Iftar,” said Qamar Ahmad, Board President of Masjid Ibrahim, who attended the Iftar dinner. “We are blessed in Delaware for having accessible elected officials.
Actions like this one will enhance feelings of equality, fairness, and inclusiveness in Muslims and will boost their integration into the general population for a stronger unified Delaware.”