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Forum On Diversity In New Hampshire Sparks Angry Response, Threats To Attendees

The forum on workplace diversity and economic inclusion, held at Eversource offices in Manchester, took place July 26, 2018. Photo by Robert Garrova

The forum on workplace diversity and economic inclusion, held at Eversource offices in Manchester, took place July 26, 2018. Photo by Robert Garrova

A group of New Hampshire leaders from the private and public sectors met recently to discuss what they see as a challenge for the state: How to attract a diverse workforce.

It was an energetic group of folks, all sitting around circular tables in a conference room in Manchester. Organizers said they were pleased with the large turnout.

Will Arvelo, Director of New Hampshire’s Department of Economic Development was one of several who led the event and he laid out the group’s goals.

“We must collectively create a welcoming and supportive environment,” Arvelo said. “We must also ensure that diversity is inclusive of not just race, ethnicity and gender differences, but of people of diverse religious beliefs, those with disabilities, those in addiction recovery, veterans, older workers and the formerly incarcerated.”

The message at the conference was clear: With very low unemployment and an aging workforce, New Hampshire needs to do everything it can to bring more people of all backgrounds into the state – and create an inclusive atmosphere that will keep them here.

Eversource, the state’s largest energy company, hosted the event. Major employers, including Eastern Bank, the University System of New Hampshire and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, sent attendees.

“I left that event and we were so pumped,” said JerriAnne Boggis, Executive Director of The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire, a non-profit that seeks to share the state’s African-American history.

“We were so excited that, wow, we’re talking on a full, rounded, inclusive dialogue.,” Boggis said. “People who were really interested in this — and it’s not changing the state but growing.”

Visit NHPR for the full story.