Can new approaches to racial justice and equity training reduce bias?

Can new approaches to racial justice and equity training reduce bias?

Project Summary

We partnered with the Denver Mayor’s Office of Social Equity and Innovation (SEI) to co-design and evaluate a racial equity challenge for city employees. The challenge aimed to reduce interpersonal bias, increase collaboration among coworkers, and help participants overcome systemic biases to better serve Denver residents. The findings from this project will help Denver lead the national push towards evidence-based equity solutions for public service employees.

Why is this issue important?

Helping public service employees overcome interpersonal bias and empowering them to address systemic bias will help them better serve community members. Trainings have the potential to shift perspectives toward anti-racist practices, but little is known about how to structure these trainings effectively.

What are we doing?

As “21 Day Equity Challenges” emerged around the country, we collaborated with SEI to develop and evaluate their own equity challenge. In this program, rather than participating in a one-time “unconscious bias” training, city staff participated in daily online challenges dedicated to building anti-racist environments. We used a randomized controlled trial to evaluate whether the equity challenge deepened participants’ understanding of how to reduce bias and their commitment to tackling racial inequity.  

What comes next?

Analysis of the equity challenge is ongoing. The findings from this study will provide evidence on a potential next generation of racial bias training.