Sep 25, 2023
The Importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at GCRTA
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are not just buzzwords at the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA). They are fundamental values that shape our organization and drive us forward. Why are these values so important? Because they empower us to create an environment where every individual feels seen, heard, and valued. This initiative is near and dear to the CEO and General Manager of GCRTA, India Birdsong Terry. During the start of her leadership in 2019, Birdsong Terry implemented a DEI framework at the agency. She feels it is important to enhance awareness and understanding of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the workplace. “DEI is particularly important to GCRTA because we serve a diverse population, and our workforce reflects the population we serve.” By having employees from diverse ethnic backgrounds, generations, genders, races, and religions, gives the agency “the creative energy to effectively serve the public.” When people from different walks of life come together, ideas flow freely, and solutions become more robust.
How GCRTA is Implementing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives
GCRTA is actively implementing a range of initiatives to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within the organization. One aspect is focused on a diverse workforce and ensuring that employees have fostered a culture of diversity and inclusion. GCRTA also has a diversity and inclusion policy to provide first-class public transportation services to the residents of Cuyahoga County. Diversity and Inclusion are also incorporated in the first value for GCRTA.
GCRTA values include:
- Diversity & Inclusion
- Fiscal Responsibility
- Service Excellence
In addition to employment, GCRTA has also prioritized training and development workshops that foster a culture of diversity and inclusion. The training workshops educate employees about the importance of embracing diverse perspectives and creating an inclusive work environment. These workshops provide employees with the tools and knowledge they need to understand and embrace different perspectives and experiences. The training workshops started in the Fall of 2022 and have since expanded. GCRTA also has diverse Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Employee Resource groups are employee-led groups in which employees participate in shared characteristics. These characteristics can be by gender, ethnicity, race, religious affiliation, sexual identity, and more.
The three current ERGs at GCRTA are:
- Elevating Women Together
- Latinos Unidos, also known as Latinos United
Connecting the Community with DEI
GCRTA is dedicated to connecting with the community and ensuring that our services are accessible to all and benefit all users. Public transportation is beneficial for community members of different ages, incomes, genders, and socioeconomic status. GCRTA’s mission is “Connecting the Community”, GCRTA actively engages with community members to better understand their needs and to ensure that our initiatives align with their expectations. Through community engagement efforts, we are building partnerships and fostering relationships with diverse organizations, advocacy groups, and community leaders. GCRTA staff has been present at a multitude of community events and in 2023 even debuted a Connecting the Community bus to be present at community events. Community events serve as platforms for dialogue, education, and collaboration, allowing us to learn from one another and work together toward creating an inclusive transit system for all.
Some community events GCRTA attended include:
- Cleveland Asian Festival
- Diversity Walk
- Cleveland Juneteenth Freedom Fest
- Pride In the CLE
- Senior Day
- Cleveland Puerto Rican Parade & Cultural Festival
- St. Patrick’s Day Parade