The Newport News Fire Department recently had the honor of hosting the 2017 Virginia Fire Equity & Diversity Conference at the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Newport News. The conference has been held throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia for 27 years, inviting men and women of all public service backgrounds to learn more about achieving equity and diversity in their workplaces and communities. This year’s theme was "Achieving the Next Level: Leadership, Inclusion & Education."
Mayor McKinley Price opened the conference with a grand welcome and Councilwoman Saundra Cherry provided the invocation, followed by a few keynote speakers and then breakout classroom sessions. The class instructors came from various locations around the country including Missouri, Florida, Charlotte, North Carolina, Atlanta, Georgia, as well as multiple Virginia cities. The classes covered topics such as “Diversity in the 31st Century, A Futuristic Approach to Diversity and Inclusion,” “The Value of Diversity Training in the Workforce, Knowledge, Application and Resources,” “Diversity in Emergency Medical Services – A Retrospective Look at EMS,” “Buddy to Boss,” and many more.
Over 175 people from all over the country attended the conference and the feedback from the participant evaluation forms was positive and complimentary of all the City of Newport News offers. The Virginia Department of Fire Programs is planning to have this conference back in Newport News in either 2019 or 2020. Next year the conference takes place in Richmond, October 10-13.