In May, Shiree Teng joined the Personnel Department as the staff inreach/outreach recruitment coordinator. It was a tough enough assignment at the time. But when just two months later, UC Regents' voted out affirmative action efforts, the challenge grew.
"The regents' decision has created questions about our commitment," to hiring a diverse workforce, said Teng in December, adding, "We are very much committed."
Teng said that her outreach efforts have become even more important in light of the regents' decision. Outreach has become a key tool to assuring diversity--whether among students or job applicants.
Teng said her aim is to reach people who live in the area and encourage them to apply for campus jobs.
"What I say to departments is 'here's a pool of very diverse and very qualified candidates. Now it is up to you to hire the best person for your opening,' " she said.
The campus is the largest employer in the East Bay, she says. Each month 4,500 applications pour in for an average of about 200 open positions.
Part of her challenge, said Teng, is to connect with minority communities in the Bay Area to show them the campus is eager for them to apply for jobs.
"For example, we don't have enough applicants from the Chicano and Latino community. When I go out to them, I am very warmly received," she said.
In November, Teng said she was delighted when Johnny Torrez, director of Physical Plant, joined her on a visit to the Fruitvale/San Antonio district of Oakland to meet with the Spanish Speaking Citizens' Foundation. "We told them, 'look, we really want to work with you,'" said Teng.
The foundation's board members took up the offer. Each member agreed to personally refer candidates to Teng. She'll in turn host potential applicants on campus, introduce them to members of staff organizations, offer off-site presentations and make sure they understand the employment application process.
In talking with potential minority applicants, said Teng, there is often a perception that it's impossible to break through the campus bureaucracy and get hired.
"The perception off campus is that the process is very arbitrary, that there's no use to apply because all the jobs are "wired" for in-house candidates and that outreach to minorities is a show--we interview minorities but we don't hire them."
In fact, she noted that out of 6,000 career staff employees on campus, 43 percent are ethnic minorities. "So, the numbers show a very different picture," she said.
To get beyond those myths, Teng is heading out to minority communities that are underrepresented on campus. "I market the campus for job seekers. I give them information, access and tools they need. I bring them applications. I say, 'When you get stuck, call me.' If they see me out there in their community, they understand we are out aggressively recruiting," said Teng.
Although outreach is an important part of her job, Teng adds that the "inreach" part is equally important. While outsiders believe the campus is 'wired' for in-house candidates, she says current workers often feel they are overlooked when they apply for other campus jobs.
"This part of my job is a result of Project Hire. Its goal is to retain the best employees on campus by providing access to advancement opportunities," said Teng.
In both her "in-reach" and "out-reach" efforts, she said, a key is reaching the people who do the hiring to open the lines of communication. "I want to introduce them to people who would be beneficial to our campus."
Her office provides a variety of outreach services including access to the campus outreach database for advertising and flyer distribution in the nine-campus Bay Area.