Carbondale conveys cultural competence via workshop
Community connection, comfort zones and civility complemented a recent two-hour cultural competency workshop conducted by Southern Illinois University (SIU) professor and Carbondale resident Randy Burnside for the benefit of Carbondale city employees.
Defined as the ability to appreciate and interpret individuals from other cultures accurately, cultural competence comprises four components: awareness of one's own cultural worldview; reviewing one’s attitude toward cultural differences; gaining knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews, and cross-cultural skills.
Burnside presented his session with five key points: acknowledging and overcoming biases; reducing isolation from less-familiar aspects or areas; stepping out of one’s comfort zone; striving for community connection, and remembering the importance of civility in the workplace and how that translates into the surrounding community.
“An overwhelming majority of the city workers were receptive to the training, and it was good to be able to train people in the community in which I reside, because there is a personal connection to bring about change,” Burnside said of the workshop event.
City Manager Gary Williams expressed satisfaction with the results and anticipates further training in Carbondale’s future.
“The city is committed to providing all employees with the tools and training to better understand and appreciate our differences,” Williams said. “We will continue to provide this type of training to ensure that our employees better understand the customers that we serve.”
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