York University School of Continuing Studies supports DEI leaders impacting lasting change through new certificate

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By Matthew McGrath

This new part-time program prepares mid-career professionals and business leaders with the knowledge and skills to upskill into diversity, equity and inclusion roles or implement DEI initiatives in their workplace

TORONTO, April 16, 2024 /CNW/ – Today, the York University School of Continuing Studies announced the launch of its new Certificate in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Action. This accelerated program will allow professionals to upskill on a part-time schedule and will provide them with the competencies to support an organization’s strategic DEI initiatives, advancing organizational inclusion and helping to build sustainable DEI policies. The program begins in September 2024, and registration is now open. 

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen a major shift and emphasis toward prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in the corporate world. This program is another step forward to ensuring a future workforce that is more diverse and inclusive,” says Denine Das, financial services DEI leader and advisory committee member for the program. “Through the real-life experiences from the program instructors and invaluable insight into the success and areas of opportunities with regards to DEI, this program will provide students the necessary skills and abilities to understand the imperatives organizations require to succeed in the global market.”

Recently, more Canadian organizations are realizing that advancing diversity, equity and inclusion within their workforce and the broader society is central to success. This has increased the demand for skilled strategists and managers who can effectively champion and implement DEI initiatives. The importance of this realization is reflected in the significant rise in related job postings, highlighting the expanding career opportunities in this field.

Between 2018 and 2022, DEI job postings have increased by 56 per cent in the GTA, 63 per cent in Ontario and 71 per cent nationallyi. However, as DEI roles are still relatively new, leaders are finding it difficult to find candidates with prior DEI experience. The School of Continuing Studies’ Certificate in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Action aims to fill this talent shortage by providing professionals with the knowledge, skills and experience in current DEI practices to match their passion.

“The York University School of Continuing Studies is proud of its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion to our community members including staff, students and instructors. DEI is at the heart of everything we do, from our objective of removing barriers to education for learners to the design of our new building,” says Christine Brooks-Cappadocia, assistant vice president of continuing studies at York University. “That’s why we are excited to launch this new program which responds to what DEI professionals are telling us is needed to support their work — a formal education credential that ensures graduates have practical experience in implementing DEI practices.”

The program’s curriculum was created in partnership with Canadian business leaders who specialize in DEI. Students in this program will access transformative learning methodologies to foster deep introspection, critical reflection and meaningful dialogue, enabling them to challenge assumptions, expand perspectives and develop inclusive practices.

Graduates will be prepared to apply best practices in their workplaces having already conducted a real-world examination of the processes and workflows of DEI professionals through an end-to-end DEI Action Plan project, collected and interpreted data analytics to identify DEI trends and the effectiveness of initiatives, and made evidence-based decisions to foster an inclusive and equitable work environment.

Instructors who work full-time in senior-level DEI roles will support students through projects and classes and will bring their real-world expertise and insights to every course.  

For more information on the Certificate in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Action launching in September 2024, visit the School of Continuing Studies webpage.

About the York University School of Continuing Studies

The York University School of Continuing Studies is a diverse community of learning united by a shared sense of purpose — achieving personal and professional growth in a world of constant change. Our ability to help students lead in the face of this change has made us the fastest-growing school in Canada. 

We prepare our students for success by imparting specialized knowledge and technical skills and enhancing soft skills, cultural understanding and cross-disciplinary expertise.

Embracing a global perspective, we foster collaborative relationships with industry and academic leaders across Canada and around the globe.