IDEA Update: Advancing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility: NPMA Committee Leadership and New Programs
In recent years, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has been at the forefront of championing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) within the pest management industry. Through strategic committee leadership and innovative programs, the NPMA has made significant strides towards creating a more inclusive and accessible environment for all stakeholders.
A recent catalyst for change is the creation of the NPMA's IDEA Steering Committee, comprised of industry leaders committed to driving meaningful progress in the realms of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility. Led by Erin Richardson serving as Chair and Cleveland Dixson serving as Vice Chair, the IDEA Steering Committee is responsible for providing strategic insight to the NPMA Board of Directors about how NPMA can best serve its membership through the application of best practices for inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility in NPMA's programs and advising on initiatives that foster a more inclusive pest management community.
New Programs and Initiatives
In a demonstration of their commitment to IDEA, NPMA has recently introduced two programs aimed at transforming the industry landscape:
1. Accessible and Intentional Peer to Peer Mentoring
Central to the NPMA's IDEA commitment is the newly launched NPMA Hives Program. This initiative meets the challenge of building a diverse network by helping members find industry mentors in a low barrier, low commitment, and high payoff program. The program consists of joining 5-7 industry professionals together weekly for 30 minutes each week. Same time, same day, same group for the duration. Each week, one Hive participant gives the group a topic of their choosing. Then the group gathers and discusses that topic, focusing on helping that person, for 30 minutes.
2. Engaging a Diverse Workforce through Career Opportunities
Recognizing the importance of career exploration and advancement, NPMA has established an enhanced partnership with MANRRS (Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences). New programming is in development to expose minority students to career opportunities in the structural pest management industry as it relates to protecting people, food and property from the diseases and destruction caused by pest infestations.
By connecting industry veterans with emerging talents, creating a platform for knowledge transfer, skill development, and professional growth the program will help break down barriers and pave the way for greater diversity and representation within our industry.
Results and Future Outlook
The impact of the NPMA's IDEA initiatives is already tangible. A growing number of pest management companies have embraced inclusive hiring practices, diversity training, sharing, and learning more about accessibility accommodations. This shift towards a more inclusive industry not only reflects a commitment to social responsibility but also leads to more innovative and effective solutions for pest management challenges.