By Harry Colbert, Jr., Managing Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Find it in nature.
Visit the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) jobs website and those are words boldly out front … find it in nature. That “it” is one of 3,000-plus jobs statewide, as DNR is one of the largest state agencies in Minnesota. After all, this is the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Traditionally, people of color have not been the beneficiaries of these 3,000-plus careers, but the department has taken active steps to diversify its ranks. One of the first steps was to hire Timothy Warren.
Warren is the department’s first ever diversity coordinator, charged with recruiting and retaining a diverse pool of workers. Warren said one of the first challenges he faced came before he was offered the job.
“I was like ‘DNR?’ I didn’t really think of anyone of color working here,” said Warren. “But that’s not the case at all.”
While the image of a park ranger may come to mind when thinking about the DNR, Warren said careers within DNR are wide-ranging.
“We offer careers in accounting, information technology, HR, legal, investigations … there are more opportunities than you would think,” said Warren. “We employ everyone from the commissioner down to someone who inspects the boats in our many lakes.”
In attracting a more diverse workforce, Warren said part of his job with DNR is to make sure new workers are walking into a welcoming environment.
“While DNR has shown itself to be very progressive, let’s keep in mind, many people have been here for 20-plus years and are used to things a certain way; but everyone has been embracing change. In my few months here, we’ve been having training on cultural competency, institutional racism, microaggressions and micro-assaults and things of that nature,” said Warren, who said DNR’s goal is to have 20 percent of its workforce people of color, women, LGBT and military veterans. “We’re having the hard conversations at DNR and DNR is welcoming these talks. You don’t want to bring people here and have them be uncomfortable. The DNR has a lot to offer statewide and we want to be inclusive at every turn.”