Diversity & Inclusion in Action at NJ TRANSIT
Shifting Forward in a More Inclusive Workplace
Here at NJ TRANSIT, we continue to take action to empower our diverse community and create the best travel experience for you, one trip at a time. Our commitment to Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) includes ongoing initiatives to celebrate our similarities and differences and work towards increasing the visibility, inclusion and empowerment of historically marginalized and underrepresented groups.
As an organization, we are driven by extraordinary people with different dimensions of diversity and its intersectionality within individual characteristics, identities, and cultures, who inform our best practices. In kind, our celebration of unity and community extends not only to individuals within our company, but to our business and community partners and especially to you, the riding public.
To continue driving these principles, in October 2020, NJ TRANSIT launched the NJT2030 D&I Initiative, under the direction of Leotis Sanders, Chief, Office of Civil Rights and Diversity Programs (OCRDP). It’s the implementation of D&I in action, powered by five measurable aspects:
- Education – Learning how diversity and inclusion can empower us and our company.
- Cross-Functional Networks – Providing opportunities for employees to come together to drive innovation.
- "3P Culture Shift” – Using inclusion principles to shift our policies, procedures and practices.
- Branding & Communication – Infusing inclusion into our internal and external messaging.
- Events & Programing – Providing occasions to learn and celebrate diversity and inclusion.
Our holistic approach to D&I progress centers around customers, business and community partners, and our fellow employees to build a better more inclusive public transportation system.
An exciting aspect of the NJT2030 D&I Initiative is the formation of the Company Employee Resource Groups (CERG) Program. We are providing opportunities for employees to meet outside of their formal work roles and organize programs and events to advance inclusion. In early 2021, there were several CERG virtual Lunch & Learn events for NJ TRANSIT employees to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Black History Month, and Women's History Month, all of which were robust in attendance!
NJ TRANSIT CERG virtual event for Black History Month
The CERG program provides the perfect opportunity to directly drive our NJT2030 organizational goals as discussed by Sebastian Moreno, NJ TRANSIT’s first Director of Diversity and Inclusion. Sebastian highlights the nuances of the initiative and his accountability for leading the relevant development, execution, and management of programs, projects, and policies. His goal-driven approach includes focus groups and surveys designed to help enhance your service experience. Examples of current and prospective research projects center on topics such as community engagement and better understanding the needs of customers.
Sebastian’s internal collaborative efforts extend to units such as Human Resources to review and ensure practices, policies, and procedures are welcoming and inclusive for all candidates. Sebastian furthermore cites the ongoing efforts to enhance public safety in public transportation, especially for marginalized groups such as the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer plus and the Asian American Pacific Islander Communities.
Our mission to provide “safe, reliable, and affordable public transportation” works hand-in-hand with the principles expressed in the D&I initiates. Safety extends far beyond track work and bus maintenance and includes the personal comfort to which each human being is entitled. As a public transportation provider, NJ TRANSIT is responsible for making you feel a sense of safety and personal comfort when riding with us, and that is why our initiatives include outreach and constant awareness. That is diversity and inclusion into action!
NJ TRANSIT recently launched a TRANSIT to Trails program that promotes the use of public transit to recreational venues, including travel to/from inner cities.
NJ TRANSIT proactively promotes its accessible services for seniors and customers with disabilities at community events.
NJ TRANSIT pursues diversity in its procurement contracts, such as the upcoming Portal North Bridge project (above), which will include work by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises.