What Is Inclusiveness Training?

Inclusiveness training is a process by which individuals, work groups, and/or whole organizations develop an enhanced awareness and understanding of cultural dynamics that affect individuals, workplaces, and whole societies. Training can help participants learn more about historical inequities related to race and ethnicity, explore how culture interacts with the work of nonprofit organizations, and help organizations to be open to and encourage fuller participation of people of color at all levels of the organization. Inclusiveness training is a critical element of any inclusiveness initiative.

There are many different types of approaches to inclusiveness training and many names for inclusiveness training programs, such as "inclusiveness training," "cultural competence training," "cultural awareness training," and "anti-racism or anti-oppression training." These approaches are reviewed in the section, "Explanation of Different Training Approaches."

Relationship of Training to the Inclusiveness Blueprint
Creating a more inclusive organization is most successful when both of the following occur:
  • Individuals within the organization develop a greater awareness and understanding of cultural and power dynamics and how they affect individuals, workplaces, and societies.
  • Organizations transform their work and workplace in order to better respond to the assets and needs of communities of color.

The best mechanism for accomplishing the first goal is inclusiveness training. The best mechanism for accomplishing the second goal is creating and implementing an inclusiveness blueprint.

An inclusiveness blueprint is a plan that outlines your priorities and action steps for becoming more inclusive, and it is similar to a detailed strategic plan. (See Creating a Blueprint.) However, in order to achieve greater understanding and awareness, every organization should also develop an inclusiveness training approach that fits its needs. This module will help you develop an approach that suits your organization.

Inclusiveness training and the inclusiveness blueprint interact and are woven together to create a more successful inclusiveness initiative.

Who Does the Training and How Much Should It Cost?
Depending on the resources your organization has, you can spend a lot of money hiring inclusiveness trainers or keep your training expenses to a minimum. Many diversity or inclusiveness trainers specialize in corporate inclusiveness training and charge a relatively high price for their services. Most nonprofit organizations do not have a training budget to pay for expensive inclusiveness trainers. This shouldn't stop you from doing training, but it may limit your options.

In many communities, there are other nonprofit organizations that do inclusiveness training for low to no cost because it is part of their mission. Additionally, some organizations use the services of professional trainers whom they know and who are willing to donate their services or provide them at a significantly reduced cost. If your organization is fortunate enough to be in this situation, be sure to check references before signing up with a pro bono trainer, as you would with any training candidate. Going through inclusiveness training can be intense and it is important that whoever leads you through the process is qualified to do so. As many organizations can attest to, a poorly qualified inclusiveness trainer can do more harm than good for your organization.