Racial Equity and Social Justice

Achieve racial equity in County service provision and ensure a workforce reflective of the community we serve.

Goal 2, Objective 2

Implement countywide strategies to recruit, hire, develop, promote and retain County employees of colour, produce an annual report card assessing progress, and update strategies as needed.
On Track 40%

Updated: January 2023

Summary of Objective Implementation Status

Human Resources, in conjunction with the Office of Equity, continues to identify opportunities and implement strategies that support making the County workforce reflect the demographics of the community.

In Calendar Year 2022, efforts related to this goal were focused in several key areas:

  • Human Resources worked with Departments to expand recruitment advertising at job boards and websites that focused on reaching qualified and diverse applicant pools.
  • With the relaxation of COVID restrictions, Human Resources resumed attendance at in-person career fairs and community events, including Fiesta de Independencia, Sonoma County Pride, Wednesday Night Market, SSU career days and internship fairs, among others, which included the use of marketing materials in both English and Spanish.
  • Through the continuation of virtual “Start Here” Trainings, Human Resources educated 108 members of the public on the County’s recruitment and hiring process.
  • Human Resources worked with an Ad Hoc of the Civil Service Commission to review the Civil Service Ordinance in conjunction with the Civil Service Rule to ensure the Rules are aligned with the Ordinance and to determine what updates, if any, to the Ordinance were necessary. This work is foundational for the next phase in the process, which will include an evaluation of the Civil Service Rules, job class minimum qualifications, and examination processes to determine what processes should be changed to remove barriers that may be adversely impacting applicants and candidates in underrepresented demographic groups.
  • The Office of Equity is continuing its work on developing and rolling out a Sonoma County Race Equity Learning Program, as outlined in RESJ 1-2.
  • Human Resources has begun developing partnerships with local educational institutions and facilitating discussions between those institutions and departments to develop internship opportunities for local students.
  • Human Resources developed and deployed phase one of the Employee Demographic Dashboard in December 2022, which provides point-in-time data of the make-up of the workforce, by race/ethnicity, gender, and age, organized and displayed for the organization as a whole and by individual departments. By having this information accessible to County employees, community partners and the public, it makes the County’s efforts to advance racial equity work more transparent and easier to track, thereby providing a way to hold the County accountable in this work.
  • Starting in December 2021, Human Resources launched a monthly Countywide email called “Perspectives” which aims to provide employees with information and links to content to broaden awareness and understanding about various themes and content related to equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging.
  • Human Resources continued efforts of educating Departments and utilizing recruitment and selection best practices specifically focused on identifying and eliminating biases in hiring processes, which included: the reaction of candidate Personally Identifiable Information during Application Appraisal Examinations, ensuring that interview panelists are educated on interview biases and provided with the tools to eliminate them, and developing supplemental questions, recruitment exam processes, and interview questions designed around job related competencies.

Key Milestone Update

  •  The evaluation of the Civil Service Ordinance began in February 2022 and was completed in October 2022. Phase two of the project, which will be focused on the Civil Service Rules will commence in early 2023.
  • Phase One of the Employee Demographic Dashboard was released in December 2022. Further demographics will be added to the Dashboard and released within Calendar Year 2023.
  • In May 2022, Human Resources relaunched the internship program and has begun developing partnerships with local education institutions for internship opportunities.
  • The launch of the updated “Recruit. Select. Hire.” training was postponed from February 2022 to the first quarter of 2023 as the training required further development in light of the changing job market as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and “the great resignation.”
  • The Office of Equity is continuing work on developing and delivering a Sonoma County Race Equity Learning Program, as outlined in RESJ 1-2.
  • Human Resources continues to add vendor-available courses related to equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging to the Learning Management System and make them accessible to employees as they are identified.

As stated in the implementation plan, there are two types of data that Human Resources is utilizing to evaluate the County’s success in making the organization’s workforce reflect the demographics of the community: 1) Applicant Data and 2) Employee Data. This data is compared against the Community’s available labor force, which is defined as individuals between 20-64 years of age.

The following report shows the total population and percentage of the population, of Sonoma County’s available labor force, in each demographic category as collected in the US Census.

Community Available Labor Force (20-64 years old)*

Race/EthnicityTotal Population% of Population
African American/Black4,8451%
American Indian5,4641%
Pacific Islander1,2290%
Some Other Population46,69313%
Multiple Races (two plus races)33,9749%

*Source: U.S. Census Bureau Esri forecasts for 2022

Race/Ethnicity data that is collected by the County from applicants and employees is in alignment with the demographics we are required to collect and report to the EEOC on a biannual basis. These categories include Hispanic, White, African American/Black, American Indian, Asian, Pacific Islander, Multiple Races, and Decline to State. As a result, the County does not collect and report out data regarding individuals who identify in the Census category of “some other population,” which creates inconsistency when trying to align data between various reports. Therefore, for purposes of evaluating the County’s success in making the workforce more reflective of the Community’s local labor force, comparisons can only be made in relation to the data the County collects.

The following table shows the race/ethnicity of individuals who applied for positions through the County’s applicant tracking system in calendar year 2020 compared to those who applied in calendar year 2022 (through November 15, 2022). The data indicates that 46% of the County’s applicants in 2022 are BIPOC, which represents a 3% increase over the number of BIPOC applicants in 2020 (43%). The number of Hispanic applicants for County positions has increased 5%, from 22% to 27%, during the last two years.

Applicant Data


CY 2020

CY 2022







African American/Black



American Indian






Pacific Islander



Multiple Races (two plus races)



Decline to State



A  review of employee data shows that the number of BIPOC employees has increased 3% over the past two years from 28% to 31%. During the same timeframe, the number of Hispanic County employees has increased 2% during the last two years, from 20% to 22%, while most other BIPOC demographic categories remained flat. The increase in Hispanic or Latin workforce, coupled with a 5% decrease in the number of white employees, is an indication that work performed by Human Resources and County departments related to this strategic plan pillar are effectuating change. In looking across all races/ethnicities, the demographics of the County’s overall workforce is largely reflective of the available labor force of our community.

Employee Data

Race/EthnicityJuly 1, 2020July 1, 2022
African American/Black2%2%
American Indian/Alaska Native1%1%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander<1%<1%
Multiple Races (two plus races)1%2%
Not Specified3%5%

Coordination and Partnership Update

The Countywide telework policy was completed in May 2022. The release of the employee engagement survey has been postponed until April 2024. The Human Resources Workforce Development Unit is currently developing a mid-management training program which is targeted for release in the first half of 2023.

Community, Equity, and Climate Update


Funding Narrative

To date, Human Resources requested and received $50,000 in funding related to this strategic plan goal to develop the Employee Demographic Dashboard. As of December 2022, a portion of the funding has been utilized to purchase software and hire an extra-help employee to develop the dashboard. The project is within cost. At this time, it is not anticipated that additional funding will be needed related to this initiative. However, additional funding may be requested in future years as project plans are developed and if additional strategies are identified.