Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Chicago, Illinois

The government of Chicago, Illinois is taking a proactive approach to promoting diversity and inclusion within the city. The Illinois Local Government Management Association (ILCMA) has been instrumental in this effort, providing support for the personal and professional development of its members. To further this goal, the state implemented a network governance model known as the “center and voice” model. This model focused on connecting regional intermediaries (RIs) across the state with subreceiver (SR) networks embedded in local communities.

Adam Slade, a visiting research specialist at the Institute for Big Cities (GCI) at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is working to provide technical assistance to local government units in the northeastern region of Illinois. He is also advocating for effective government policies and collaborating with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, ILCMA, and UIC Great Cities to better understand the unique challenges faced by small and medium-sized municipalities interested in carrying out this work. Kathleen Yang-Clayton, a researcher at the Institute of Big Cities, associate clinical professor of Public Administration and associate dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the School of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, is an expert on integrating public administration and racial equity to increase trust in government and improve government performance. The Chicago Big Cities Institute at the University of Illinois is a research center that explores how cities and regions become large regions.

The state has also been making investments in this network to strengthen public trust in government. Organizations interested in applying must designate two high-level officials from separate departments within the municipality or separate government entities from the community. The state is also helping businesses owned by qualified businesses, disabled for service, or owned by veterans to access hiring opportunities in the state of Illinois and to participate in the competitive procurement process. Adam is currently pursuing a doctorate in the Department of Public Administration at the School of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

His current work focuses on the operationalization of racial equity practices in large public organizations, in order to increase public trust in government and improve their performance, especially, but not exclusively, in historically marginalized communities. The government of Chicago is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion within its city limits. They are making incremental investments in this network, strengthening some capacity gaps, and intentionally incorporating partners into strategic planning and implementation. This is an urgent priority for the 2030 census as well as for increasing public trust in government.