Diversity Index (Council Key Result Indicator#15)
Olathe is an increasingly diverse community in population size and make-up. With growth comes the challenge of nurturing a sense of community among citizens. Olathe aims to be a model city for inclusion of all populations — a community where engaged residents, in partnership with a responsive City government, work together towards “One Olathe” where all can thrive. Olathe’s multi-faceted approach to diversity includes outreach, advocacy and education that promotes partnerships among community organizations, businesses, government and citizens.
The City’s growth continues to present opportunities for the Human Relations Commission (OHRC), Persons with Disability Advisory Board (PDAB) and City departments to address the changing needs of the community. These groups work year-round to encourage dialogue about differences and to present at community events that honor and celebrate diversity. Events such as the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration, Community Awards recognition, an employment resource fair for the disabled community and more continue to exemplify the City’s strong community partnerships and commitment to awareness and understanding.
Staff have developed a Diversity Index that measures components of the DirectionFinder® citizen survey in a number of areas relevant to our diversity initiatives.
Responses to the following measures are included in the calculation of this index:
- Quality of Service Provided by the City for Persons who are deaf or hearing impaired
- Quality of Service Provided by the City for non-English speaking persons
- Quality of Service Provided by the City for Persons with limited physical mobility
- Quality of Service Provided by the City for Seniors
- Quality of Service Provided by the City for Persons with disabilities
Many opportunities exist for the City of Olathe to enhance its community engagement practices and we continue to explore ways to expand diversity measurement.
Since the initial creation of this index in 2008, diversity inclusivity needs, expectations and resources for related programs, practices and services have continued to grow. The target of 110 is unchanged from last year when it was significantly elevated from a prior baseline of 100. While the target was exceeded in 2016, external national factors may negatively impact this score in the future. Similarly, after a slight downward slip following record high levels in 2015, the current target level achieves consistency while continuing to promote a high, yet realistic standard in this area.
The questions which comprise this index are asked on the citizen satisfaction survey conducted by ETC Institute. The measure reflects perceptions regarding service access, inclusion and respect for our community’s largest minority groups. Olathe consistently aligns resources and practices to demonstrate its commitment in these areas and the City continues be recognized as a desirable community residents. However, some perceptions may be influenced by national events and policies outside of municipal government. Suspected additional factors resulting in negative trending data include possible shifts in citizen diversity priorities from ethnic inclusion to economic poverty and gender identity/sexual orientation inclusion which could also be reflected in this score. In an effort to better assess these influences, the City has included several Diversity questions in a targeted survey to an ETC citizen focus group. These questions more specifically measure citizens’ understanding and impression of current outreach efforts, including the roles of the OHRC and PDAB Boards as well as the impact of community events. Results have shown a generally favorable impression of these Boards by a small population, but have illuminated a strong need for increased awareness of OHRC/PDAB community outreach efforts among the majority of our community. Enhanced communication efforts have already begun via social and traditional media relations. OHRC continues to investigate education and outreach to new and underrepresented groups, seeking out training and community dialogue opportunities.