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Wisconsin State Council on Affirmative Action’s Annual Diversity Awards Ceremony Will Recognize Innovative Diversity Efforts 

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Members of the State Council on Affirmative Action (l-r) Alenka.Dries, Nia Trammell, Adín Palau (President), Corinda Rainey-Moore (Vice-President), Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, Lisa Mortenson (Secretary), and Karen Nelson. Not pictured Fabiola Hamdan.

“We had a very large number of submissions this year. I would say that it’s the largest we’ve seen with this new council of the last three years,” Adin Palau tells Madison365. “It was highly welcomed by the state to have this opportunity to showcase the different programs and individuals who have contributed to diversity and inclusion in the state of Wisconsin.”

Palau is the chair of the State Council on Affirmative Action, who have recently announced the winners of the 20th Annual Diversity Awards, which recognize state agencies, universities and employees for contributions to diversity efforts. 

The State Council on Affirmative Action, appointed by the Office of the Governor and State Legislature, advises the State of Wisconsin Division of Personnel Management Administrator on state affirmative action efforts. The Division of Personnel Management, led by DPM Administrator Malika Evanco, provides leadership and support to other state agencies in human resources management.

Adin Palau, Chair
State Council on Affirmative Action

Honorees will be celebrated at the Council’s annual Diversity Awards Ceremony at the Wisconsin State Capitol Assembly Chambers Thursday, Oct. 24, 12:30 p.m., which will be followed by a reception in the Assembly Parlor at 2 p.m.

“We are celebrating 20 years of doing the Diversity Awards and that is basically recognizing folks across the state that are doing positive work around diversity and inclusion,” Corinda Rainey-Moore, vice-chair of the State Council on Affirmative Action, tells Madison365. “Each of the awardees have to apply for the award and then the council, as a whole, votes on who the winners are. We have a lot of great people throughout the state doing some very creative and great work, so it was a very tough decision making these selections. I’m glad that I don’t have to make it by myself.”

Corinda Rainey-Moore, Vice-Chair
State Council on Affirmative Action

Palau is hoping to see a good turnout for the Council’s annual Diversity Awards Ceremony on Thursday.

“We want to encourage participation from the community,” he says. “We’re celebrating two decades of history and achievements. We’re celebrating innovative ways of doing programming and celebrating community investment in the future of our state.

“We want to keep encouraging these kinds of investments in our communities and recognize the great efforts that are being made,” Palau adds. “We invite the entrepreneurs and community members to continue to invest and to come together to see how we can create solutions for how diversity and inclusion will happen across our state.”

Criteria for the annual awards include measurable demonstration of initiatives, programs and practices that have led to the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce or student body.

“It was a very difficult process to select the winners because of the quality of the work that is happening around this state,” Palau says. “It’ the reason why we added two categories this year – the outstanding Achievement and Outstandingleadership by individuals.”

The awards that will be presented on Thursday are as follows:

◉ The 2019 Diversity Award goes to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, for the Wisconsin Pre-Apprenticeship Readiness Program and its strong commitment to providing apprenticeship opportunities and training support for underrepresented populations throughout the state.

◉ The 2019 Ann Lydecker Educational Diversity Award goes to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where John and Patty Noel have offered the Noel Compass Scholars Program since 1996, providing full scholarships to attend UW-Stevens Point, internships and other opportunities to students of color at Wisconsin high schools, helping close the achievement gap and prepare for successful careers.

The Noel Compass Scholars Program provides full scholarships to attend UW-Stevens Point, internships and other opportunities to students of color at Wisconsin high schools.

◉ The Program Awards for Outstanding Achievement will go to the Department of Transportation for the Aviation Career Education Program and the University of Wisconsin Whitewater for the Little Scholars Program.

◉ The Outstanding Leadership Award will go to State Patrol Superintendent Tony Burrell of the Department of Transportation for the work he has done in encouraging employment of minorities in law enforcement and fostering a relationship with law enforcement and communities in the Milwaukee area.

◉ The Lifetime of Service Award will go to Dr. Roger Pulliam, Professor Emeritus of the University of Wisconsin Whitewater for marking his nearly 60-year career in education with an unrelenting devotion to representing, including, and advocating for minority students and educators, and promoting the success of his students and community.

The guest speaker for the Annual Diversity Awards Ceremony will be James Parker, Professor Emeritus of History and Women’s and Ethnic/Minority Studies who was a former Council chairman and member from 2005-2015. The awards ceremony will be conducted in conjunction with the Virginia Hart Special Recognition awards program, which honors women in state employment who have overcome hardships and made outstanding contributions in their state service. 

The Wisconsin State Council on Affirmative Action, whose meetings are held regularly and are open to the public, is responsible for selecting the winning recipients that will be honored at the event.

“About 11 individuals make up the council and they come from various backgrounds with lots of ideas and passion to write a new chapter on diversity and inclusion in the state of Wisconsin,” Palau says. 

The Wisconsin State Council on Affirmative Action advises the state on practices for affirmative action and diversity and inclusion.  They established the diversity award back in 2000 to recognize the achievements of outstanding affirmative action and equal employment opportunity practices among state agencies and the University of Wisconsin system campuses.

“We really made a push throughout the state to find people because we want to make sure that these awards are diverse and inclusive and reflective of our mission,” Rainey-Moore says.

The public is invited to attend this 20th Annual Diversity Awards.

“It’s an event that we’ve open to the public. We really want folks to see what is happening across the state because it affects everyone,” Rainey-Moore says. “Particularly as we think about hiring folks of color throughout the state, some of these diversity initiatives will help promote that in a positive way. We really want to put the state on the map in terms of the best place folks can get jobs – good jobs – as an opportunity to advance themselves.”