Versailles, Ky. The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) has received the 2016 Corporate Champion of Diversity Award from the Urban League of Lexington. This award recognizes a business or organization that supports diversity in its activities, community relations, workplace representation and in the vendors it utilizes. KCTCS was selected because of many initiatives and policies that have been implemented over the last several years.

KCTCS approaches diversity from an organizational development perspective, ensuring that diversity is infused throughout all functions of the organization. Starting with the leadership, the Board of Regents adopted a diversity, inclusion and engagement resolution. The nationally recognized plan includes several initiatives designed to create an inclusive community of learners, increase the college-going rate of underrepresented populations, and maximize diversity among KCTCS faculty and leadership.

Additionally, a Diversity Peer Team solicits input from college staff to address policies, procedures and practices that impact diversity.

A targeted outreach plan that engages students and strengthens the educational pipeline for diverse students also has been implemented. Sample initiatives include a KCTCS-Berea Transfer Partnership; a John T. Smith Scholarship; and Super Sunday, an annual recruitment initiative targeting students of color. Performance metrics include student enrollment and retention, graduation rates, degrees conferred, student transfers and developmental educational success.

KCTCS also advocates for inclusion of diverse suppliers. Current large KCTCS suppliers must meet diversity and inclusion benchmarks and are strongly encouraged to share these same values by subcontracting with and utilizing companies owned by minorities, women and the physically-challenged.

As an example of its supplier diversity commitment, KCTCS will host the 4th Annual Supplier Diversity Fair on Oct. 12 at the Frankfort Convention Center from 1:00 4:00 pm. This is a match-making opportunity for diverse suppliers to network with representatives, buyers from KCTCS's colleges and System Office.

In 2015, KCTCS spent $1.4 million in discretionary spending with diverse suppliers. During the first two quarters of fiscal year 2016, that number is $3.4 million. In April 2016, KCTCS' Supplier Diversity Initiative was recognized as one of the top five finalists for "Best Practices" at the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers spring conference.

The Urban League is a nonprofit organization in Lexington-Fayette County whose mission is to assist African Americans and disadvantaged citizens in the achievement of social and economic equality. The Urban League believes diversity makes the workplace a better environment and the community a better place in which to live, work and raise a family.