University Economic Development Association

Awards Session: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Florida Atlantic University – The FAU Innovation and Business Development Branch

Speakers: Regina Thompson – Strategic and Economic Initiatives Manager

The FAU Innovation & Business Development (FAU I&BD) branch, under FAU’s Division of Research, has brought innovation, talent, expansion, and entrepreneurship under one “umbrella”, of resources and services to the region, which spans over 150 miles. FAU’s I&BD has created eleven (11) outreach locations (hubs) throughout the region to support underrepresented and minority groups within our communities. This branch provides access to curated programming and resources in centralized and remote areas of Palm Beach, Broward, and St. Lucie County.

FAU I&BD hubs are a continuum of economic development and entrepreneurial services and resources that help businesses imagine, build, scale, expand and thrive. FAU I&BD programs include but are not limited to: the Market Validation Workshop, a community-based course dedicated to helping entrepreneurs define their product-market fit; The Grassroots Initiative in partnership with the Hispanic Serving Initiative providing professional development training to the Latin community; The Adams Center for Entrepreneurship, which hosts the Entrepreneurial Bootcamp in English and in Spanish; and The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at FAU and the Procurement Technical Assistance Center supports the entrepreneur’s journey through international trade, market growth and government contracting under the expansion phase. FAU I&BD collaborates with FAU Research Park and Global Ventures at FAU, which provide the soft-landing designation to the 11 outreach hubs.
The FAU I&BD initiatives are well equipped and well positioned to serve its region and engage in civic innovations. This branch provides equitable access to entrepreneurial training and workshops for any entrepreneur at any stage of development.


University of Kansas – Center for Digital Inclusion Evidence-based Technology Education for Women Transitioning from Incarceration

Speakers: Hyunjin Seo – Professor and Director of Center for Digital Inclusion

Our project focuses on offering digital skills training to women transitioning from jails and prisons in Kansas and Missouri to support their employment, healthcare, and other aspects of reintegrating into our increasingly digital society. Supporting technology access and skills among women in transition is particularly critical, as the vast majority of women in or leaving incarceration are low-income and/or from racial/ethnic minority groups. Moreover, about 60% of imprisoned women have at least one child under the age of 18, which makes it even more essential for them to be equipped with knowledge and skills in technology to support education of their children and to find jobs after leaving incarceration.

Based on solid empirical research, the Center for Digital Inclusion has developed and offered hybrid digital skills sessions (online and in-person sessions) to women in transition in Kansas and Missouri. Topics covered in the program at different levels include online information search and validation, online resume building, personal online security, Microsoft Office MS Office, website building, and basic coding.

The Center’s digital equity/inclusion projects follow community-based, co-design principles working closely with diverse stakeholders throughout the process. For this particular project, the Center has formed collaborative partnerships with various community organizations including public libraries, departments of corrections and nonprofit organizations supporting women’s reentry.

A total of 155 women transitioning from incarceration have participated in the program with more than 75 completing at least one lesson so far.


University of Kentucky – University of Kentucky Supplier Diversity

Speakers: Marilyn Clark – Supplier Diversity Manager
Barry Swanson – Chief Procurement Officer

Universities are seen as anchor institutions in their communities, educating its citizens, providing economic vitality through job creation, advancing health, research, innovation, and expanding real estate investments. Universities also have vast purchasing power and spend a record amount of money on goods and services, but rarely look at procurement through the lens of equity. In 2020, as part of University of Kentucky Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative, a project was launched to increase UK expenditures with diverse businesses. A Supplier Diversity Manager was hired as a member of the Chief Procurement Officer’s leadership team. This position provides dedicated focus to lead UK’s supplier diversity efforts.

UK’s Supplier Diversity Strategy is designed to achieve its goal of positive community impact by 1) Identifying diverse business enterprises (DBEs); 2) Educating and training the DBEs to the point they become viable suppliers for UK and the greater community; 3) Connecting DBEs to UK business opportunities using technology and other procurement processes; 4) Measuring and evaluating this work through the implementation of robust analytics and reporting for purposes of building credibility and accountability and 5) Creating Community Impact through developing and connecting local businesses to opportunities at UK, connecting the local community, students, faculty and staff to the supplier diversity strategy.

Supplier Diversity fits well into each of the five pillars of the UK Strategic Plan to Advance Kentucky which includes: Putting Students First, Taking Care of Our People, Inspiring Ingenuity, Ensuring Greater Trust, Transparency and Accountability and Bringing Together Many People, One Community.


October 1 @ 12:00
12:00 — 12:45 (45′)

Navarro Ballroom