ROBBINSVILLE, NJ – New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA), the governing body for high school sports in New Jersey, has announced a first-of-its-kind partnership with the National Football League (NFL). The organization will host a two-day, virtual diversity, bias and cultural competence workshop for football game officials, Sept. 22–23. The two-day session’s goal is to increase awareness and advocacy for advancing diversity, equality and inclusion.

The workshop will focus on the following:

  • Why diversity matters – Promotes a foundation for understating the various dimensions of diversity, the value in respecting and appreciating the differences in others, and how embracing equitable and inclusive practices creates a greater sense of community, improves culture and is the key to a competitive advantage.
  • Implicit bias and disruption – Raises self-awareness of the various forms of unconscious biases that affect thought patterns, decision-making, and the way a person sees the world. The program also will discuss methods of bias disruption.
  • The art of cultural competence – Provides an exploration of how culture influences behavior and shares methods for increasing cultural sensitivity – including effective engagement with people with varied cultural backgrounds and perspectives.

“Equality and inclusion isn’t an option at NJSIAA, it’s an essential aspect of our mission,” says Colleen Maguire, NJSIAA’s chief operating officer. “Above all, creating an accepting environment for all of our athletes will always be our top priority. We’re excited to partner with a leading organization toward accomplishing essential goals.”

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“As a part of our ongoing commitment to creating a more inclusive community, we are excited to partner with the NJSIAA on a series of workshops to further educate officials on diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Al Riveron, NFL senior vice president of officiating. “We look forward to having everyone engage in this topic throughout the two-day event and continue towards making sustainable changes in society.”

The workshop will be facilitated by Nicole S. Smart, founder and principal of Smart EDI Solutions LLC, a consulting practice that combines data-driven approaches to support organizations in fostering diversity, equality and inclusion.

 

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