‘Representation at the table’: Can state and local governments attract the next generation of Black talent?

'Representation at the table': Can state and local governments attract the next generation of Black talent?

Lee, 46, is the interim manager of the Oklahoma City Action Center, a call center akin to what’s sometimes called 311 in other cities. She started as a temp seven years ago and has grown into her current role, a process she calls “the whole purpose” of any career. 

As she has advanced, Lee has taken Spanish lessons. “We want to be able to reach people who don’t speak English,” she said in an interview. “Let me tell you, you have a problem and you’re calling your government and no one understands you — that’s scary. I want all our residents and employees, 10 years from now, to see a reflection of themselves. I want them to feel part of the whole.”

The empathy Lee brings to her work isn’t always reciprocated. “I’m an African-American. I think about race all the time,” she said. “I live in a world where…

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