Gregory Dockery loves his new job creating employment access for underserved workers
Photos and Story by James Hill
Ever since President Mark Mitsui arrived on campus a year ago, equity and inclusion has been a core principle of his work plan. That principle is the mission of Gregory Dockery.
Dockery is the new diversity recruiter for the college’s Human Resources Department, supporting PCC’s themes of access, student success, quality education, and equity and inclusion. Just eight months into his new gig, he is charged with diversity recruitment of prospective faculty, administrators and staff.
“I identify potential diverse applicants and assist them in seeing the vital contribution that they can make by becoming a member of the PCC community,” Dockery said. “I’m passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion, and understand the importance of increasing the diversity of PCC staff and the impact that it has on students at the college.”
It’s an important role for the college. PCC’s student body has a 32-percent minority representation while the percentage of college employees is significantly lower.
To help engage prospective employees of color, Dockery attends recruitment events representing the college locally and nationally, and connects with job seekers on social media to develop diverse candidate pools. He provides communication to interested job seekers on open positions and responds to applicant questions about the hiring process. He also provides diversity training to hiring managers and search and screening committees about bias, equity and inclusion in the hiring process.
“I’m sure the outcome of these efforts will result in PCC hiring more diverse individuals who will enhance the workforce and reflect the diversity of the student body,” he said.
One of his favorite moments in his new job was earlier this year when he attended the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education in Fort Worth, Texas. There he got to network with diverse professionals and had opportunities to share the benefits of working at PCC.
“It was one of my brightest moments yet,” Dockery beamed. “It was rewarding to gain so much knowledge from subject experts like thought leaders, educators, administrators from across the country. It was a tremendous experience.”
Prior to PCC, Dockery worked at Oregon Health & Science University as a talent acquisition consultant. However, he knows community colleges well. He was a first-generation student at Nebraska Community College before earning his bachelor’s degree in Organizational Communications from Missouri State University. He also worked for Salt Lake Community College.
His experience and abilities are also being put to use in HR’s new Inclusion Advocacy Program, which was a mandate by the college. The new initiative places trained advocates on these committees to ensure members are not unwittingly engaged in biased discussions about candidates, and steer them toward more equitable conversations.
“Advocates sit, watch and listen,” Dockery explained. “The program is designed to recognize the value of inclusion and replaces the longstanding practice of having a designated diversity committee member, which led to tokenism.”
Anyone at the college can sign up and go through the Inclusion Advocacy Program training, which is one full day, once a month throughout the year at the CLIMB Center. Once they finish training, they’ll be on call for participation on screening committees. It’s a novel way to ensure PCC does its part to be as inclusive and equitable as possible.
“It is always a challenge,” Dockery added. “We face the same issues that many colleges and universities do that are located in predominantly white communities. Our advantage, though, is that we’re in a large metropolitan city like Portland and have the full support of our president and HR leadership to make this a reality.”
The project fits into President Mark Mitsui’s vision for PCC and is a core pillar of its Strategic Plan. Mitsui wants to expand PCC’s efforts to partner with advocates and agencies representing people of color and emerging communities to leverage their resources, connections and advice so that PCC provides the best opportunities for students to succeed.
“We reside in a community context,” Mitsui said at one of his work plan forums last spring. “That community, as you know, is changing rapidly. And it’s important for us to change with it.”
For more details on the Inclusion Advocacy Program, contact Gregory Dockery at (971) 722-5866 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.