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Council Conversation: Building Equity and Inclusion in Our City
By the Hillsboro City Council
What did the City Council learn when we prioritized our support for cultural inclusion?
We learned to slow down. We learned we have much more work ahead of us.
Developing policies that place equity at the forefront takes time, resources, and a commitment to be inclusive and to learn. As the City works on an inclusion and engagement strategy that benefits everyone, we are building upon these and other programs and plans that are already in place.
The Hillsboro Civic Leadership Academy
Each year, the Academy helps a diverse group of new leaders to develop and prepare for public service in Hillsboro. Since 2016, more than 10 Academy graduates have gone on to serve on City of Hillsboro boards and commissions — and the City Council. More than one-third of Academy graduates, to date, represent and reflect the perspectives of Hillsboro’s communities of color.
In 2018, the City of Hillsboro financially supported the Coalition of Communities of Color’s report, “Leading With Race.” The City’s ongoing partnerships with community groups have led to many projects such as the Prosperidad Economic Empowerment Center (with Centro Cultural) and the Cocinemos (“Let’s Eat”) program for food entrepreneurs at the Hillsboro Community Senior Center (with Adelante Mujeres).
The City also has partnered on events such as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration (with the Human Rights Council of Washington County), the El Grito Community Festival (with Centro Cultural), and the Latino Cultural Festival (with the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce).
Hillsboro's Job Training Opportunities Program (JTOP)
More than 30 talented, bilingual community members have gained work experience and training as part-time, entry-level customer service assistants with the City of Hillsboro since 2013, when JTOP launched. The entire community benefits from excellent customer service. Several JTOP graduates now hold full-time positions with the City of Hillsboro.
Support for the Portland Community College (PCC) Future Connect Program
Since 2013, the City of Hillsboro has contributed $650,000 in scholarship support to a total of 300 Hillsboro students who are either low-income or first-generation college students. In addition, the City has hired more than 25 PCC Future Connect students as paid summer interns.
Hillsboro's Cultural Arts Action Plan
Adopted in 2018, the City’s Cultural Arts Action Plan encourages diversity, equity, and inclusion in arts and culture. Its strategies include adding new, inclusive City events, expanding opportunities for under-served populations and people with disabilities, and emphasizing outreach to non–English-speaking community members.
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