Racial Equity and Economic Inclusion
Program on Economic Inclusion
At the Cleveland Fed, we have a long-standing commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and opportunity for our employees and for the communities we serve.
We value accountability, excellence, inclusion, innovation, integrity, and service. We strive to embed our values into both our work itself and the way we get that work done, individually and together. As we enhance our focus on racial equity and economic inclusion for all, we are committed to valuing the attributes we have in common and those that make us unique.
The Racial Equity and Economic Inclusion webpage serves as a starting point to explore the ways in which we ourselves do as we advise when it comes to racial equity and related issues. Here, you’ll find related messages from our Bank president, Loretta J. Mester; descriptions of programs we’re involved in for teachers and students; an overview of the culture we foster at the Bank; information about our diversity and inclusion training for employees; and details about our outreach to attract and contract diverse suppliers. You’ll also find a link to our Program on Economic Inclusion, which provides the public with research, data, and programming to advance the public’s understanding of racial and economic disparities in the region we serve and across the nation, along with solutions to address these disparities.
For a lexicon of terms the Bank uses in our racial equity and economic inclusion work, please consult our glossary.
Messages from President Mester
- May 3, 2021: Reflections from Loretta J. Mester
- April 15, 2021: The Cycle of Disparities in Economic Outcomes and Opportunities
- March 25, 2021: Reflections from Loretta J. Mester
- February 2, 2021: Toward a More Inclusive Labor Market and Stronger Economy
- January 7, 2021: Bloomberg TV interview with President Mester on Women in Economics
- January 4, 2021: Increasing Diversity in Economics
- September 28, 2020: Toward a More Inclusive Economy
- June 22, 2020: A Message from Loretta J. Mester, President and CEO
- June 19, 2020: Juneteenth Message
- May 10, 2020: How to increase the resilience of the American economy will be a key question once the coronavirus crisis abates
- February 27, 2020: 'You’re a central bank. You should be representing the public'
Culture. It’s the way organizations get things done. At the Cleveland Fed, our culture of inclusion is apparent in all we do. It’s one of our core values, demonstrated in when and how we collaborate across our organization to achieve better outcomes, how we communicate with others to gain input and garner support, and how we generate ideas to advance our mission. Through our work in diversity, equity, inclusion, and opportunity, we focus on inclusion internally and externally. Organizations that have a diverse workforce are more effective, not only here at the nation’s central bank, but also across various industries and sectors of the economy.
The diversity of our workforce and equity in our policies and practices are foundational to our culture of inclusion and to providing opportunity for all. Yes, there is also aspiration in our work—an important component to organizational success. We continually strive for greater, positive impact in our service to the public and the communities in which we work and live.
The Bank’s internal Diversity Council meets bimonthly to advise the Bank in its work in diversity, equity, inclusion, and opportunity. The council’s membership is cross-functional, with representation from numerous areas of the Bank, including several of the Bank’s employee resource network groups. This team of 20 members supports and informs the work of the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Opportunity.
The council is led by Mike Beedles, senior vice president and council chair, and Mark Meder, first vice president and council vice chair.
Volunteering in our communities
Getting involved and making a difference in our communities is a longstanding part of our history and part of our plans for the future. Our Fed It Forward volunteer program provides an opportunity for our employees to be ambassadors for the Bank. Employees can take 16 hours of paid leave per year to volunteer for approved community activities that align with our volunteer focus areas aligned with the Bank’s mission.
- Community Development: Building community capacity and promoting individual, family, and community economic well-being.
- Education: Promoting informed financial decisionmaking, especially around key financial issues that can have a large and long-lasting impact on an individual’s well-being.
- Workforce Development: Providing education, training, and skills development, particularly for underserved or at-risk populations, to improve access to employment and career advancement and to broaden opportunities for individuals to earn income and contribute to sustainable economic growth in their communities.
- United Way: Bringing people and resources together to focus on local issues most affecting low- and moderate-income individuals and communities.
Volunteering in our communities benefits our employees, our Bank, and our communities. We make the greatest impact where these three areas intersect. Our employees benefit because they gain a sense of satisfaction from helping to improve their communities and the opportunity to improve their collaboration, team building, and leadership skills. Our Bank gains a deeper insight into the problems that affect the communities that we serve and enables us to build stronger relationships with area nonprofit organizations. Our communities win because our employees dedicated their time and efforts to aid nonprofit organizations that serve them. When we harness our collective talents, we create a focused, meaningful impact.
Measures of success
We gauge our effectiveness in diversity, equity, inclusion, and opportunity by participating in regional and national benchmarking surveys annually. We use the information we receive to identify what we can change for the better and how we can strengthen our engagement with communities and leaders in our region. For more insight into our benchmarking efforts, consult our Diversity and Inclusion webpage. Then, watch this video for information on the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s regional benchmarking survey, in which the Cleveland Fed takes part.
Our internships provide college juniors, seniors, and graduate students paid, meaningful work experience in their areas of study, along with opportunities to network with specialists in their fields and beyond. These opportunities transform students’ academic endeavors into related work experience so that participants gain the practical knowledge needed for today’s global job market. Our hands-on projects seek to challenge our interns and to stretch their skills, helping them achieve goals they may have previously thought beyond their reach. And after their internships conclude? They become part of a candidate pool for current and future career opportunities at the Bank. Visit our intern program page for more information.
Here at the Cleveland Fed, we believe that everyone has the right to fair and equitable opportunities to develop their skills and competencies. Through tuition reimbursement for college courses and internal and external learning opportunities, employees have the access they need to enhance their skill sets. We engage in ongoing development discussions, and our human resources partners and talent management team help our employees identify relevant training. No matter where we are in our careers, the need for learning and development continues.
Together, we’ve worked to build our high-performance culture, and together we give our best every day to maintain it. We call this “leading from where you are”: presenting thoughtful ideas, even (and especially) if they seem like something we’ve not done before; working mindfully on projects both large and small; pushing ourselves when we realize we are out of our comfort zones; and moving away from the status quo in order to help the Bank move forward. We are smart individuals with a multitude of different experiences and skills, and we use them each day to better ourselves, each other, and the Bank.
Lead from where you are is the foundation for how we support our strategy, vision, and mission. We drive initiatives to build a high-performance culture, establish engagement and inclusion as a way of doing business, and live our Bank's values. We have made great progress and will continue to make strides as each of us embraces this approach every day.
Lead from where you are looks different for everyone; it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. We are all encouraged to bring our best thinking to work every day and to pursue opportunities that will support individual development while helping us achieve the Bank’s vision.
Lead from where you are is something everyone can do. We are talented and driven individuals with diverse experiences and skills. We demonstrate our commitment to the Bank by contributing purposefully on a daily basis.
Lead from where you are how we work together, regardless of level, tenure, or position.
Building knowledge and understanding across demographic boundaries and fostering mindfulness and support are integral to the Bank's culture. We provide training and education for our workforce to build skills and competencies in support of individual and team contributions to our success.
|Mitigating Bias||Raises awareness of bias and its impact on decisionmaking and provides strategies for mitigating bias. This is a required class for all Bank employees.|
|Inclusive Leadership||Develops the skills of an inclusive leader to create an environment in which all team members feel valued for their unique contributions.|
|Privilege and Allyship||Presents everyday techniques for employees to become active and visible allies of marginalized groups and to thus contribute to a more inclusive workplace.|
|Bridging Generational Differences||Provides an overview of different generations at work to assist with bridging generational gaps and improving relationships critical to personal and business growth.|
The Cleveland Fed has other programs that support our learning and development focus, too, and we partner with strategic organizations that offer additional training and education. To ensure we’re up to date and present relevant information, incorporating supporting tools and exercises, we review and refresh all content regularly.
The Bank’s education and outreach efforts support economic self-empowerment and a better understanding of the Federal Reserve through targeted outreach and programming that emphasizes college and career readiness, personal finance, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), financial literacy, and economics. Through collaborations with community, nonprofit, civic, education, and business organizations, the Bank has created a strong network of partners that have enabled the expansion of regional engagement.
At the Cleveland Fed, we offer a variety of educational student programs, at no cost across our region, with a particular focus on reaching those students from majority-minority and all-girls schools and those in low- to moderate-income (LMI), underserved, and urban and rural communities. Find more information about our student programming here.
Across the Federal Reserve system, all of our publications, interactive resources, lesson plans and multimedia content are available at no charge through our centralized repository FederalReserveEducation.org. The Bank also offers a variety of resources for students of all ages in both English and Spanish. Learn how to access these resources here.
Career Path Partnerships and Programs
Akron Public School’s College and Career Academies
Sponsored by the United Way of Akron and supported by the Bank, this program provides high school students with career guidance and mentoring.
Asset Building Network
The Bank belongs to this coalition of financial literacy and community development organizations that do outreach with minority and low- and moderate-income communities in Pittsburgh.
Clermont County Chamber of Commerce Work Readiness Program
Bank staff provide mentoring to approximately 500 Clermont County high school juniors and seniors, counseling them about career opportunities at the Bank.
College Now’s mission is to increase postsecondary educational attainment through college and provide career access advising, financial aid counseling, and scholarship and retention services. Bank employees have the opportunity to mentor students in the College Now program.
Companies in the Classroom
Through the Consortium for Public Education, the Bank participates in Companies in the Classroom, which invites area business to discuss career opportunities with eighth-grade students in Pittsburgh Public Schools.
Greater Cleveland Partnership’s SWAG program
This program aims to provide to Cleveland Metropolitan School District high school students information about specific career opportunities, backgrounds, and skills for success through interactions with local community organizations and businesses.
The mission of INROADS is to develop and place talented underserved youth in business and industry and prepare them for corporate and community leadership. The Bank partners with INROADS to interview students for summer internship opportunities at the Bank.
Saint Martin de Porres High School Corporate Work Study Program
Since 2018, the Bank has partnered with the Saint Martin de Porres High School Corporate Work Study Program to teach high school students about the value of work, soft skills development, office technology, and career options. The Bank joins four other Reserve Banks and more than 130 Cleveland-area businesses and nonprofit organizations that proudly support the program.
As part of Northern Kentucky University and Cincinnati Museum Center’s STEM +H Day, the Bank provides more than 300 Kentucky high school students with information about career opportunities at the Fed.
STEM Goes Red
The Bank participates in this joint event sponsored and hosted by Xavier University and the American Heart Association. The event invites 200 female-identifying high school students from majority-minority schools in Cincinnati to learn about career pathways in the STEM field.
The Bank participates in the Cleveland True2U program, during which employees provide yearlong mentoring to 30 Cleveland Metropolitan School District eighth-grade students with the goal of helping them explore careers, discover their strengths, and make sound decisions for their future success.
Upward Bound Talent Search Program
The Bank provides high school students throughout the Cleveland Metropolitan and East Cleveland School Districts with opportunities to explore careers through mentoring.
The Bank participates in the Urban League’s African American Mentoring Program, which provides mentoring opportunities to eighth-grade students in Pittsburgh Public Schools.
A strong regional economy makes space for the full participation of minority-owned, women-owned, and small businesses to provide products and services to corporations and organizations across the region and the nation. The Cleveland Fed is committed to providing opportunities for these businesses to partner with the Bank on our projects. In support of this effort, we invite suppliers to meet with Bank representatives, and we attend matchmaker events that offer small-business owners the opportunity to meet with our procurement specialists. During the pandemic, when meeting in person is ill-advised, this work has continued through our attending virtual events. To increase our efforts and our impact, we also call on the Bank’s larger suppliers and contractors to include minority- and women-owned and small businesses in their subcontracting arrangements when partnering with the Bank on projects. Beyond the Bank, too, we recognize that large corporations may need to review how to increase supplier diversity in their business inclusion opportunities and ensure equitable practices are in place and reviewed periodically.
The Bank maintains strategic business partnerships that include the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), the Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council (OMSDC), our regional affiliate, the Ohio River Valley Women Business Enterprise Council (WBEC) and the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Inclusion Marketplace.
Cleveland Fed Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council
The Cleveland Fed is pleased to announce the initial cohort for the Bank’s Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council. “Each council member brings his or her experience, expertise, and perspective as a recognized diversity and inclusion leader to our organization’s commitment to support racial equity and economic inclusion,” said Diana Starks, vice president of People and Culture and director of the Bank’s Office of Minority and Women Inclusion.
The council partners with Bank leadership and provides guidance and expertise regarding actions, initiatives, and strategies the Bank can pursue to improve diversity, equity, inclusion, and opportunity for Bank employees current and future. Council members will also work with Bank leadership on initiatives aimed at at supporting the racial equity and economic information framework as it connects with the communities the Bank serves.
The council’s contributions to the Cleveland Fed, which is part of the US central bank, benefit both Bank employees and the communities the Bank serves in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky.