Ann Arbor SPARK offers free classes on creating an inclusive workplace

Ann Arbor SPARK will offer a series of free classes on creating an inclusive workplace environment for entrepreneurs and small business owners.
The Inclusive Workplace Series builds on one offered last year, according to Kristine Nash-Wong, director of entrepreneurial services at SPARK East.
"We added information on inclusive leadership, allyship and intervention," Nash-Wong says.
She adds that classes will continue to provide information on unconscious bias, cultural competency, and awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Nash-Wong says that SPARK wanted to ensure "that small businesses and start-ups had access to information that was on this topic and that was affordable, actionable, and geared to their unique needs."
The first class, "Inclusive Leadership," will begin on Jan. 24. Participants will learn about unconscious bias, microaggressions, and using inclusive language, among other things. All classes will be conducted over Zoom and will employ an interactive approach. Class sessions will not be recorded, Nash-Wong says, "because [SPARK staff] want people to be able to share and interact and participate" freely.
Nash-Wong says SPARK decided to create the series because numerous companies the organization works with expressed interest in learning about building inclusive workplaces.
"Overall, our hope is that the companies we’re working with are able to incorporate some of these principles into their process and have an awareness of these concepts as they grow the company," she says.
Classes are free but require registration. Participants may attend as many or as few of the sessions as they like

Natalia Holtzman is a freelance writer based in Ann Arbor. Her work has appeared in publications such as the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Literary Hub, The Millions, and others.

Image courtesy of Ann Arbor SPARK.
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