CALCOG Focus on Equity

CALCOG just completed a year-long equity training for over 100 participants from 20 member agencies, CALTRANS, and the California Transportation Commission. CALCOG is always looking for innovative and effective ways to support our members. The role of regional governments is complex and ever changing. The challenges we address impact the economic, environmental, and social(equity) health of our State and often defy easy and known solutions. Equity is one of these issues.

At the 2020 Regional Leadership Forum, CALCOG held a roundtable on equity to help our members share what they were doing and to identify how CALCOG could support them. The answer: Help us build individual and collective racial equity, diversity, and inclusion knowledge and skills with the goal of generating more equitable and inclusive practices, policies, and outcomes.

In response, the CALCOG Board approved a contract to hire the firm Venture with Purpose to develop a custom equity training for regional governments.

The training was designed to address some of the barriers to integrating equity into organizations and programs. We wanted agency teams of four or more to participate so that they could work together and support each other in advocating for change in their organizations. The program spanned a year so that it could provide on-going support and problem-solving for participants who wanted to implement the practices being discussed.

Of course, we put together an advisory committee representing the diversity of CALCOG’s membership to refine the program design. We wanted to make sure we were adding benefit to what our members were already doing. In April 2022, we launched the series. The goal was to provide the knowledge, understanding, and support to improve regional government program equity.

Program participant feedback was positive but with lots of constructive ideas of how we could have helped participants be more effective with the information they were learning. Most of the discussion was on how to structure Zoom or hybrid trainings. Several participants said they would not have been able to participate if the training was not virtual, but everyone acknowledged the challenges of online learning. Though the content that was being taught throughout the curriculum was received with positive reviews,

“As a professional dedicated to advancing equity, I found the equity trainings invaluable for reminding me why this work is crucial and introducing novel approaches to tackle systemic biases.” Kỳ-Nam Miller, Equity Officer – Access(ibility), Culture, and Racial Equity Office, Bay Area Metro

Structure of the Training

The series consisted of four quarterly trainings and six discussion sessions. The trainings focused on techniques and strategies to successfully integrate principles of inclusion and equity in organizational practices. The discussion sessions were smaller and allowed participants to share stories and learn from one another as they started to apply what they learned in the trainings.

Training Sessions

  • Training #1: The Role of Regional Government in Advancing Racial Equity
  • Training #2: Common Pitfalls and Antidotes to Drive Racial Equity in Organizational Culture
  • Training #3: Building Buy-in: Why Cultivating Authentic Support from Elected Officials and Decision Makers is Essential to Success
  • Training #4: Racially Equitable and Inclusive Approaches to Community and Stakeholder Engagement

Topics and activities included:

  • How to be an equitable and inclusive leader
  • How to make equitable decisions
  • Tools to support organizations in prioritizing equity
  • Navigating resistance from elected officials
  • Understanding power and privilege and how they work
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Power analysis and internal organizing tools and strategies

Visit CALCOG’s Equity in Transportation Planning Policy Tracker for more information about how regional government is addressing equity and for additional resources. Do you have something to add? Click on the Recommend A Resource button and share!


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