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Home > Leadership > Mayor > Mayor Brown's Programs > Diversity and Inclusion

"As economic growth and opportunity continues in Buffalo, it's important that all residents and business owners benefit from the city's rising prosperity." - Mayor Byron W. Brown

Mayor Byron W. Brown continues to grow Buffalo into a City of opportunity for all people by fostering a community that's committed to diversity, inclusion and equity. Building a city of opportunity is something Mayor Byron W. Brown and the Buffalo Common Council have been working on together. By making sure that our city's workforce - public and private - mirrors Buffalo's rich diversity, we will keep our city on the cutting edge. Since 2006, Mayor Brown has diversified city leadership, staff and membership on Boards and Commissions; he's hired the most diverse workforce in Buffalo's history, incorporated community benefit agreements in most major development and continues to connect residents with training for real career opportunities. After launching the City of Buffalo Opportunity Pledge last year, Mayor Brown is pleased to announce that to date over 5,500 individuals and 372 businesses and organizations in Buffalo have signed the pledge, representing over 180,000 employees and members.

A diverse workforce ensures that all citizens are able to have their views expressed in City government.

• The Department of Human Resources, through the Director of Personnel, coordinates extensive “Diversity and Inclusion” training for City of Buffalo Employees.
• The Department of Human Resources coordinates training on diversity and inclusion for two critical departments, Police and Fire.
• Encourage MBE/WBEs to Pursue City Contracts: The city can contribute to creating a diverse business environment by using its purchasing power to assist MBE/WBEs, the City of Buffalo continues to participate in the various MBE/WBE consortiums to encourage minority- and woman-owned businesses to sell goods and services to the City of Buffalo.

Support Racial Equity Roundtable: Residents and businesses must feel that opportunities provided by employers are available for everyone.

• The recently created Racial Equity Roundtable works work with the public, non-profit and private sectors to develop strategies which will advance inclusiveness in neighborhoods citywide. Mayor Brown is a founding partner and will sit at the roundtable along with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, and two dozen community and civic leaders
• Increased Community Benefit Agreements: CBAs connect the opportunities presented by development projects to M/WBEs and a diverse workforce.
• Continue to Promote the Buffalo Opportunity Pledge: The Opportunity pledge is part of an initiative that is moving Buffalo toward the goal of shared prosperity for all residents. The City of Buffalo Opportunity Pledge encourages businesses, organizations and residents to commit to building a culture of inclusion and equality in Buffalo. To date, over 5,700 Individuals, 375 Businesses and Organizations have signed the pledge, representing over 180,000 residents, students and organizational members.
• Under the leadership of Mayor Brown, The Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center opened at 332 East Utica Street with a mission to enable small, minority- and women-owned businesses within Buffalo to gain access to the resources and business development opportunities necessary to build capacity and thrive.

• Expand apprenticeship programs: The Department of Public Works will partner with local trade unions to develop apprenticeship programs where seasonal laborers work with City tradesmen to learn various skilled trades such as cement mason, electrician, plumber, etc. After successfully completing the City’s program, workers will be referred to the respective unions where they will be able to seek permanent employment.
• Prepare youth for higher education and work:
       • The Mayor’s Summer Reading Challenge is a fun educational program which focuses on building literacy skills for students, better preparing them for the upcoming school year and beyond. New partnerships with Say Yes to Education and Buffalo Public School’s Summer Camps have enhanced participation in the program.
       • The Mayor’s Summer Youth Internship Program provides internship opportunities to a cross section of youth who reflect the diversity of Buffalo.
       • Mayor Byron Brown was one of the early financial supporters of The Say Yes Buffalo partnership - a landmark collaboration that brings together the Buffalo Public School District, the District Parent Coordinating Council, the Buffalo Teachers Federation, the Buffalo Association of Administrators and Supervisors, the City of Buffalo, Erie County, higher education and Say Yes to Education, Inc., with a diverse group of Buffalo area corporate, non-profit, and philanthropic organizations.

Affordable housing investment: Buffalo must be a city for everyone. The Brown administration has strategically committed $32 million for affordable housing projects that has leveraged $210 million, creating over 1,200 new housing units for city residents.

Implemented New Americans Plan:
• The Office of New Americans was established by Mayor Byron W Brown to improve immigrant and refugee relations in Buffalo and to promote coordination of agencies and services addressing issues involving the city's growing immigrant population. Between 2006 and 2013, the foreign-born population in Buffalo increased by 95 percent, and the most recent American Community Survey reports that the city is home to over 22,000 foreign-born residents. The New Americans Study was undertaken to ensure that the city remains an attractive destination for immigrants and refugees.

• Buffalo Police Department Language Access Plan, focusing on further strengthening police interaction with limited English proficient individuals. The plan is based on a proposal submitted by various Buffalo ethnic communities, in collaboration with not for profit service organizations, and represents a collaborative effort between the City and its growing immigrant communities. The plan sets policy for Buffalo Police Department (BPD) members to utilize a number of interpretation services: Language Line telephone service, Bilingual BPD Members, Civilian Interpreters, and professional contract services, including in-person interpretation.