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Equity & Inclusion

We take pride in spearheading initiatives that serve as the bedrock for equity and inclusion across the entire state.  

At our core lies a fundamental belief: every Michigander deserves fair treatment and respect from their government. From employment opportunities to state contracting and access to governmental services, we're dedicated to ensuring that equity and inclusion are not just aspirations, but lived realities for every resident.  

The Equity and Inclusion team's responsibilities include: 

  • Leading Language Access Initiatives: Spearheading efforts to ensure linguistic diversity is respected and accommodated in all official capacities. 
  • Fostering Partnerships for Immigrant Inclusion: Building alliances to support immigrant inclusion in workforce development, promoting diversity and opportunity. 
  • Driving Talent Growth Collaborations: Serving as the state's leader for training and technical assistance, empowering partners to foster talent growth and innovation. 
  • Maintaining Focus on Equity in State Services: Ensuring equitable access to state services for all residents, regardless of background or circumstance. 

Additionally, we actively: 

  • Support Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Efforts: Collaborating closely with stakeholders to advance DEI initiatives across the state. 
  • Collaborate with Equity and Inclusion Officers: Partnering with statewide officers to amplify our impact and promote a culture of inclusivity. 

We strive to establish collaborative relationships with: 

  • Communities: Engaging with diverse communities to understand their needs and concerns, fostering trust and partnership. 
  • Government Agencies: Working alongside agencies to integrate best practices of Equity and Inclusion into decision-making processes. 
  • Organizations: Partnering with organizations to promote equity and access to programs for all residents, including newcomers to the U.S. 

Together, we're creating a more inclusive Michigan—one where newcomers and longtime residents alike can access the resources and opportunities they need to build bright futures. 

Meet our Team

Eva Alexander headshot

Eva Alexander (she/her)

Strategic Operations Manager for Equity & Inclusion
AlexanderE5@michigan.gov

Blank Spacer for those with no image available

Asraa Ali (she/her)

Equity and Inclusion Analyst
AliA10@michigan.gov

Guadalupe Ayala headshot

Guadalupe Ayala (she/her)

Statewide Language Access Coordinator
AyalaG@michigan.gov

Rabah Gabasha (she/her)

Equity & Inclusion Assistant
gabashar@michigan.gov

Natasha Baldwin (she/her)

Equity & Inclusion Coordinator
BaldwinN1@michigan.gov

Roger Tijerina (he/him)

Workforce Development and Training Coordinator
tijerinar1@michigan.gov

FAQ

What is Language Access?

Language access refers to the provision of language services and resources to ensure that individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP) or those who are deaf or hard of hearing can effectively communicate and access information and services provided by organizations, institutions, or governments.

Language access encompasses a range of services, including interpretation (spoken language) and translation (written language), as well as the use of auxiliary aids and services such as sign language interpreters, video remote interpreting (VRI), and written materials in alternative formats.

The goal of language access is to remove language barriers and promote meaningful access to services, programs, and information for all individuals, regardless of their proficiency in the predominant language of a given area or institution. It is essential for ensuring equitable access to justice, healthcare, education, government services, employment opportunities, and other essential resources.

What is a Language Access Plan?

A language access plan is a guide that provides state agencies with best practices on how to provide services to individuals who are non-English speaking or speak Languages Other than English.

Language Access Plans outline processes such as: 

  • Who to contact
  • How to communicate with constituents
  • Where to go for translation services
  • Who should be trained
  • Where to find training
  • How to evaluate if the plan is working
  • What is the complaint process
  • What information needs to be reported

What are Equity and Inclusion Officers (EIOs)?

The State aims to proactively enhance inclusive and equitable access for all citizens, and a pivotal outcome of this initiative is the appointment of dedicated Equity and Inclusion Officers (EIOs) in each state department and agency. EIOs are entrusted with the dual mandate of steering proactive DEI initiatives and ensuring regulatory compliance.

What are the State's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Efforts?

In November of 2020, Equity & Inclusion Officers (EIO) began working on a comprehensive endeavor to institutionalize Equity & Inclusion within state government. This work is rooted in Executive Directive 2019-09 and moves toward a comprehensive approach to systems change.

Objectives

Establish a Robust DEI Infrastructure

  • Integrate DEI-qualified and credentialed EIOs for each department
  • Enhance the compliance process to ensure rigorous quality assurance
  • Identify and recommend standardized growth metrics

Cultivate DEI Leadership

  • Formulate cross-sector/division DEI core teams within every department to spearhead DEI transformation
  • Provide comprehensive training for core teams in DEI practices, encompassing strategic planning and cultural competency, utilizing evidence-based tools such as Results Based Accountability (RBA) and Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)

Advance DEI Across Departments

  • Analyze current demographic data to pinpoint gaps and establish processes for enhancing DEI within demographics
  • Determine DEI growth metrics based on demographic data for targeted improvement
  • Develop a comprehensive communication plan for both internal and external stakeholders, ensuring DEI accountability and transparency through reporting on achievements and addressing challenges/opportunities

Metrics for gauging success include:

  • Increased diversity across state departments and department divisions
  • Augmented infrastructure supporting DEI initiatives
  • Elevated cultural competency ratings
  • Enhanced reporting of DEI belonging/engagement