Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The Steel Yard acknowledges that continual learning and action are needed to make our campus and programs safe, inclusive, equitable, and just. We commit to reimagine, rebuild, and develop programs and systems to counteract the harm caused by structural racism and oppression of all forms. To embrace this ongoing mission we have created a standing committee of Board and Staff members to explore opportunities for justice in all of our programs and promote equitable practices and learning across the organization. We invite feedback and participation.
At the Steel Yard, we believe everyone deserves access to the education, skills, and equipment needed to directly improve their conditions and community regardless of their race, color, religion, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation or gender identity, status with regard to public assistance, disability, sex, age or previous experience. The Steel Yard acknowledges the harm that has been done to BIPOC communities as a result of systemic racism and encourages our supporters and affiliates to join us in challenging ourselves to consistently do better.
The Steel Yard will continue to hold ourselves accountable by remaining committed to being an actively anti-racist organization in the following ways:
At The Steel Yard, we are committed to engaging with the Central Providence area communities in the following ways:
Access to Education: We provide full and partial scholarships, as well as paid opportunities, to gain hands-on training in industrial arts courses in welding, blacksmithing, ceramics, jewelry, and the foundry arts. We offer many free demonstrations throughout the year and host tours for groups to see the facility and ask questions. And for the advanced student, our Residency program offers 24-hour studio access.
Independent Contractors Hiring Model: We are always looking for teaching artists and fabricators to share their crafts and skills at The Yard. These independent contractors (many of whom have learned their crafts at the Yard or completed one of our Workforce Training programs) teach classes, carry out projects, and fulfill contracts in partnership with Steel Yard staff. The Yard is dedicated to providing mentoring and support for independent contractors who wish to grow their competency.
Pipelining: We intentionally focus our recruiting efforts in the Workforce Training Program, on community members who have experienced systemic injustice. This is done with intention and hope that these same folks will return to The Steel Yard to work with us as independent contractors, resident artists or project assistants after completion. Furthermore, we recognize the importance of access to education/skill training and intend for these programs to serve as a way to assist folks in teaching skills and trades within their own communities.
Health Equity Zone Work: Through a long-standing partnership with the Department of Health, The Steel Yard is committed to collaborating with community partners and neighbors, to leverage our assets to improve the overall health, stability, well being, and quality of life for residents in Central Providence.
Meaningful Partnerships & Protection: At The Steel Yard we are committed to creating safe spaces for BIPOC and marginalized communities when attending events or activities on the Yard. To ensure that safety, The Steel Yard will prioritize partnerships for events, community engagement, and vendor opportunities that align with our values and commitment to continue showing up as an actively anti-racist organization that keeps our communities at the forefront.
Organizational Accountability: At The Steel Yard we are committed to holding ourselves accountable by engaging in all staff, employee, and board professional development programs centered around anti-racism, anti-black racism, and anti-oppression. As we continue on the journey of learning and unlearning, we hope that our community will engage with us in the process of holding us accountable. We are open and committed to receiving feedback from the population we serve.
Wealth Redistribution: At The Steel Yard we are committed to redistributing wealth by resourcing and redirecting job/contract opportunities to independent contractors, individual team members, residents and local artists; many of whom progress through and complete our paid Workforce Training and internship programs.
Our Commitment to You:
- We will actively recruit and support communities underrepresented in the industrial arts.
- We will continue to demand racial, economic, and environmental justice.
- We will continue to offer paid training for under-employed and underserved Rhode Islanders.
- We will maintain the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee, composed of both staff & board, to identify inequities within the organization and work in partnership with our community/outside experts to develop strategic solutions to dismantle these systems of oppression.
- We will continue to build a Board and Staff of diverse backgrounds, voices, history, identities, stories — and make space for them to effect positive change in our organization and community.
Join the conversation with ideas and feedback: Contact@thesteelyard.org