December 16, 2020

Wayne State University STEM Innovation Learning Center, OurOffice to empower the next generation of leaders in diversity, equity and inclusion

Wayne State University’s STEM Innovation Learning Center (SILC) and OurOffice have announced a fellowship program that will empower current and future leaders in diversity, equity and inclusion within tech and tech-enabled industries. The program is the first fellowship program supported by a university focused on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) learning in a real-world environment.

“As the STEM sector rises to the challenge of diversifying its workforce, we need leaders who are well-versed and experienced in inclusion practice,” said Tonya Matthews, Ph.D., associate provost for inclusive workforce development and director of SILC. “Students and professionals trained in traditional STEM fields are rarely exposed to rigorous DEI practice, and often those trained as DEI experts are not immersed in the cultures peculiar to tech and heavily tech-enabled companies. This fellowship aims to close those gaps.”  

The fellowship, launching in February 2021, will place or train participants within companies in Southeast Michigan to create transformative diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in their respective workplaces. The fellows’ work will be enabled through a proprietary OurOffice platform that takes a unique “systems engineering approach” to institutionalizing inclusive corporate practice and culture. Fellows will gain skills and experience under the guidance of OurOffice’s experienced DEI specialists and will learn how to use proven processes and technology to assess, plan, implement, manage, measure and report on their initiatives. The fellowship will strive for diversity and may include professionals working in a DEI role at a participating company, or a WSU graduate student in STEM who is interested in leadership opportunities and non-academic career options.

“We are very excited to help the next generation of leaders gain the skills and experience to build inclusive workplace cultures under the guidance of OurOffice DEI experts and by applying our proven processes and technology,” said Sonya Sepahban, CEO of OurOffice, Inc.

This innovative partnership of WSU and OurOffice exemplifies a mutual commitment to creating workplaces and communities in which all voices are welcomed, respected and celebrated equally. Wayne State’s Office of Business Innovation, led by Matthew Roling, is also lending its expertise to the program.

“We know actions have power, and WSU is taking a proactive role in empowering the current and next generation of thought leaders. We know that diversity, equity and inclusion are values that require action, and we believe this commitment to those values will benefit the fellows, their companies and their communities,” Roling said. “Our hope is that other universities will join us in recognizing the power and responsibility we hold in shaping the future.”

Interested companies can express their interest by submitting a short form at ouroffice.io/stem_innovation to receive an invitation to an upcoming information session and to be added to the waiting list for the inaugural fellowship program. Students and current professionals interested in applying to be a fellow with the program can join the announcements mailing list here.

 

About the WSU STEM Innovation Learning Center

The STEM Innovation Learning Center (SILC) is designed to be a hub for engaged, active multidisciplinary teaching and learning across STEM disciplines, while also making space for deliberate interdisciplinary collisions and conversations that engage learning across all Wayne State University schools and colleges. Learn more at stem-innovation.wayne.edu.

About OurOffice

OurOffice “Diversity and Inclusion as a Service” is the leading end-to-end solution for building an inclusive workplace culture. For the first time, organizations of any size can get a dedicated expert, a proven process, and a technology platform to assess, plan, implement, manage, measure and report on results of their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts. OurOffice delivers 8x ROI and has shown 10x increase in employee engagement when leaders are active. OurOffice has been featured in Mercer's 2019 “Diversity and Inclusion Technology Report” and Deloitte’s 2020 “D&I Market Landscape Report.” Learn more at ouroffice.io.