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(Columbia SC, Sept. 14, 2012) Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) was honored at the 8th Annual Excellence in Workplace Diversity Awards Ceremony, held on September 13th in Columbia, with the Excellence in Workplace Diversity Award for Small Employers (under 500 employees).

“This award would not have been possible without the leadership and vision of the Airport Commission as well as the commitment of our staff in believing in and embracing our diversity initiatives and taking the actions necessary to accomplish those goals,” said Dan Mann, CAE’s Executive Director.

In 2007, the Airport Commission adopted a Diversity Policy which laid the foundation to increase the Airport’s goals in hiring and working with Small, Minority, and Women Owned businesses. As of July 2012, the Airport has seen an over 300% increase in the total dollars spent with minority and women owned businesses over the same period last year. Steps have also been taken to ensure that there is a wide and diverse swath of applicants for positions available with the airport.

Several components are key to the success of CAE’s Diversity Policy initiatives:

– The development of a DBE group comprised of staff that attends training to keep up-to-date with rules and changes and to be airport ambassadors of the airport’s initiatives.

– The creation of a Diversity Master Plan that covers all Airport DBE, Title VI, and Affirmative Action Programs.

– The establishment of a Master List of potential DBE/minority/women/small business owners for every purchase made by the airport. The list is accessible to all airport employees and staff is required to reference this list prior to selecting a vendor.

– The accountability of each department to indicate their efforts towards working with a DBE on every purchase order.

– The promotion of DBE initiatives through public events and advertising avenues to ensure that DBE/minority/women/small businesses and potential employees are aware of opportunities available with the airport.

CAE’s diversity efforts have received the attention of other businesses looking for ways to expand their own diversity policies. As the airport staff continues to attend meetings and events sharing the information about the initiatives, more progress will continue as the airport moves into 2013.

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