Employment Opportunities for Minorities in
Montgomery County, Ohio

Chapter 4 

Employer Testimony

At the Committee’s factfinding meeting, seven employers testified about employment opportunities in Montgomery County. Three speakers represented public employers: Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the county of Montgomery, and the city of Dayton. Four individuals spoke on behalf of private employers: Bank One, NCR, Monarch Marking, and Standard Register.

Public Employer Testimony        

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base 

Michael O’Hara, director of civilian personnel at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, told the Advisory Committee that most affirmative action programs are reactions by employers to external pressure. Operated this way, there can be some minimal success in terms of providing equal employment opportunity for minorities, but for real long-term equal employment opportunity the commitment must be made by the directors of the organization.

Effective affirmative action is not simply an issue that is dealt with in a month or a year or with a single silver bullet. Unfortunately, it is often practiced as a series of iterations, or reactions, in response to external pressures.

One of the first employer reactions stems from fear, a fear of EEO complaints and/or litigation. . . . The general result is to bring together a group of top level managers to come up with a plan to protect the company from the lions at the gate. At that point in the development of affirmative action there is symbolic hiring, primarily symbolic hiring of African American candidates. Not in large numbers, and not into key positions, but some hiring to at least make a showing or establish an argument that the company or the entity is in support of affirmative action and has evidence to prove it.

When the immediate crisis is over, the second general step is to hire an affirmative action officer, usually an individual who is known in the community and who reflects the largest minority population in the community. . . . He or she is generally very adept at public relations and public speaking, and is generally very adept at balancing the pressures of management versus the community. Unfortunately there is little investment at that point in time in terms of support staff or the management systems necessary to allow for affirmative action to really succeed.

Following that, there is generally a requirement to develop a document, almost always called an affirmative action plan. 

This evolutionary process may last anywhere from 3 to 10 years, dependent upon the pressure from the community, the pressure from the employees who were hired to seed the ground for the affirmative action program. . . . Progress is made only when the commitment to affirmative action moves away from the human resources department and the affirmative action officers to the boardroom and cascades down to senior management and supervisors to take responsibility relative to affirmative action progress. 

But practicing equal employment opportunity costs money. When management becomes serious about affirmative action, they invest money in it. And when they invest money in it, they dedicate funding to do targeted recruiting and develop representative applicant pools, that is the key. 

At Wright-Patterson, when we recruit we devote a considerable amount of money to sending teams, not just of our personnel staff, but also of our senior managers all the way up to general officer equivalents, to historically minority universities and other areas where there is a potential minority applicant pool. That costs money, it costs time, and it takes commitment. 

The next step in a mature affirmative employment program focuses on training and community outreach. There are definitive cultural differences between whites and African Americans and Hispanics and Native Americans. Every manager and first-line supervisor and indeed every employee should have at least a snapshot of those differences to appreciate where people are coming from when they feel as though they have been aggrieved, when they feel as though they have not been treated fairly, and when they feel as though they have been slighted by a comment. 

At Wright-Patterson we are not perfect, we know that we have challenges, but we are not ashamed of what we’ve done in the past. We have a solid representation in our work force of both African Americans and individuals of Hispanic origin, we track that data regularly, particularly in the professional and the administrative career areas. But at the same time we do have pockets of resistance.[1] 

Montgomery County

Leon Walker, personnel director of Montgomery County, spoke to the Advisory Committee about the Board of County Commissioners and the employment practices in its seven departments: Human Services, Sanitary, Engineering, Public Works, Administrative Services of the Office of Management and Budget, the Stillwater Center, and Community and Economic Development.

In the seven departments under the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners there are 1,400 employees and more than 200 titled positions ranging from laborer to county administrator. Wages are compatible with market standards, and educational requirements for the various positions range from high school diploma to graduate degrees. 

In the late 1970s the county commissioners directed staff to analyze all Board of Commission jobs to accurately ascertain skill and educational requirements to perform the functions of each position. The board also directed the departments to remove any and all unnecessary qualifications and artificial barriers and to develop and implement monitoring mechanisms throughout the hiring process to ensure that every single applicant received fair and equitable consideration for employment.

This process begins by the personnel department distributing job announcements in more than seven locations in the Dayton area and to every elected official and department within the county structure. Positions that may be available at any given time include management positions such as operations manager, architects, income maintenance administrators, service center director, risk managers, animal shelter directors, water superintendents, property managers, directors of nursing, benefits managers, human service directors, environmental lab managers, and engineers on several levels. 

Some of the professional positions in the county include accountant, customer relations, information manager, chemist, infection control coordinator, planner, human resource consultant, budget analyst, employee benefits specialist, management analyst, nurse supervisor, social worker, registered nurse, and safety worker.  

Employment opportunities in Montgomery County are augmented by organizational development, training programs, and tuition reimbursement programs for use by employees wishing to prepare for promotional advancement. All employees have the opportunity to develop themselves in traditional, as well as nontraditional positions, and we are pleased that our job placement reflects that diversity. Board of County Commissioner employees receive first consideration for all promotional opportunities. Qualifications are competitive, and the employee may be promoted, appointed, or proceed through the selection process.  

We are not perfect in our attempt to remove all barriers and attitudes [affecting equal employment opportunity]. But employees who feel the need may address their concerns through a grievance procedure and/or file charges with external resources, and these avenues are stressed to all employees. However, we have had more success settling with parties who feel damaged and trying to negotiate or mediate the problems and work them out, and we have had much success and prevented any number of formal complaints by that process.[2]  

City of Dayton 

Thomas A. Payne, director of human resources for the city of Dayton, discussed the organization and management structure of the city and the efforts and challenges to the city to recruit and employ a diverse work force.

In the city of Dayton there are 16 departments that report to the city manager, and the city has a city manager form of government. However, the city manager form is unusual in Dayton in that employment functions are divided between human resources, which reports to the city manager, and the civil service board, which reports directly to the city commissioner. About 90 percent of the employment and hiring is done by civil service; human resources handles about 10 percent of the employment. 

Currently the city employs just under 2,800 regular employees. Most of those employees work in the service and maintenance areas and in the skilled crafts area.

In the officials and administrators category, 32 percent of the work force is minority and 24 percent female. Within the professional and technical category we have 464 employees; 42 percent are minority and 32 percent are female. That doesn’t mean that we feel as though we are satisfied. We have a lot of work to do, especially in the public service area. We have had a plan that we have been working on for a number of years, and the city continues to look at those numbers and seek to diversify the entire work force.

Currently there are a lot of different attitudes and ideas about the implementation of employment practices that promote equal opportunity yet are fair in an organization such as ours where 2,000 of our 3,000 employees are represented by organized labor. The unions have very strong allegiance to the current civil service system, and it will be interesting to see how these changes are discussed and debated in the future.

Overall, the city of Dayton is very much interested in making certain that the city organization as a whole reflects the diversity of the community that we work in and for and serve. 

The predictions, which were set out in the Hudson Institute Work Place Year 2000 study, that employers would be in competition for people has come true. The city finds itself very much in competition for individuals who have the skills necessary. Moreover, as we move into the next century, the dynamics of the workplace and the skill needs are changing more quickly in the workplace than educational institutions can keep pace with, and that is an added challenge for employers.[3] 

Private Employer Testimony

Private employers provided testimony at the factfinding meeting about equal employment opportunity and the personnel practices of their individual firms. Excluding companies in Montgomery County that are engaged in retail businesses, health care, or the provision of education and training, 18 firms employ more than 1,000 workers. Listed by number of employees, they are General Motors, Airborne Express, NAVISTAR, Mead Corporation, AK Steel, NCR Corporation, Copeland, Emery Worldwide Services, Lexis-Nexis, Bank One-Dayton, Reynolds + Reynolds, Dayton Power and Light, Dayton Thermal Products, ALCOA, Monarch Marking Systems, Hobart Brothers, Cox-Ohio Publishing, National City Bank, Allied Signal, and Standard Register (see table 3.1).

All 18 firms listed above were invited by the Advisory Committee to testify at the factfinding meeting. Four companies sent representatives: NCR Corporation, Monarch Marking Systems, Bank One-Dayton, and Standard Register.[4]

NCR Corporation

Mark Kingseed, head of labor relations at NCR, spoke about recruitment efforts by NCR, constraints on the company’s ability to do more in equal employment opportunity, and the company’s commitment to being an equal opportunity employer.

NCR was one of the major employers in Montgomery County, a very successful company through the 1970s. In 1990 and 1991 the company had some very difficult times and struggled to be profitable. Since 1991 NCR has lost about 20,000 jobs, half of those in the United States and half of those overseas. So the hiring that NCR has been able to do in recent years has been small and targeted to particular job categories. 

From the standpoint of the numbers and percentages of minorities working at the company, NCR is not satisfied with the status quo and we know we have work to do. But we simply have not been able to do so because of economic conditions over the last 7 or 8 years. 

The company has decided in the last year to focus most of its recruitment efforts on the college campus, as opposed to bringing in experienced hires. . . . The company’s thrust in the future is to develop a much better relationship on the college campus as the use of college is the key recruiting source for the types of positions that we need, which are primarily computer engineering, finance and administration, engineering and some of the more highly technical skills.  

Along these lines NCR develops what we call Tier 1 colleges. A Tier 1 college is a school that has a number of students who major in these areas. We try and develop a very close working relationship with these schools.

One of the criteria we use when determining Tier 1 schools is the minority population of the students who are there, including historically black colleges and . . . [Hispanic-serving] colleges and universities. Because NCR wants to make sure it is reaching out to a diverse base of students and potential applicants for the company.

We are starting fresh again because quite honestly over the prior years our college recruiting efforts withered away in the mid-1990s. So NCR is again making a sustained effort to get into the schools and attract as wide a group of students as we can. Frankly, we shoot to make sure that we have a higher percentage of diverse applicants than the availability shows.  

In addition to Tier 1 schools, NCR also targets local colleges and universities which in some respects may not have the same broad range technical skills or the number of students with the technical skills we want. These [institutions] would have the numbers of students who are available with the skills set that we can get them on board.

NCR also participates in diversity focused annual conventions and career fairs. An example of what NCR participated in the last 12 months are the career fairs for the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, National Black MBA Association, and National Association of Black Accountants. NCR also recruits heavily in diversity targeted publications. For instance, the National Society of Black Engineers Magazine and Hispanic Network Magazine.   

One other thing NCR tries hard to do is retain the minority employees that we do have. Again as you might suspect with things being less than secure one could say at the company there is always a danger of attrition. One effort along these lines is called Business Resource Group. The business resource groups, or BRGs, are organizations within the company sponsored by the company [and] have leadership team mentors, which are focused on minority employees. We have found the BRGs to be a very effective mechanism to make sure that the employees have a voice, that they’ve got an opportunity to be heard and that they understand the company in an organized and structured way values what they have to say about the various issues that come up.[5] 

Monarch Marking Systems

Rhonda Mangieri, vice president of human resources at Monarch Marking Systems, made four points before the Advisory Committee. First, she discussed the efforts made by Monarch Marking Systems to achieve diversity in its work force. Second, for equal employment opportunity to succeed, she said there has to be a commitment from the top management—a commitment that the leadership of Monarch has. Third, she talked about the disconnect between the skills needed for available jobs and the skills being taught in the schools. Finally, she commented on possible reasons for the differences in the levels of minority employment between private and public employers.

Monarch Marking Systems, a company that manufactures labels, tickets, tags, table top printers, and labeling guns used to ticket and tag items, has moved from a more technical-oriented company to a company that is more of a service provider.

Monarch has a high level of diversity throughout its organization. Our minority level at the executive level is 5.5 percent, in mid-level management it is 3.7 percent, and among first-line managers it is 9.1 percent. In the professional engineering and chemical occupations 2 percent are minorities, and 8.4 percent of other professionals are minorities. Thirteen percent of the sales representatives are minorities.

To ensure a diverse work force Monarch participates in a number of programs around the Miami Valley so that we have a network into these organizations. Monarch takes a more hands-on personal approach; we do not believe the traditional approach of using job ads is as effective as getting out into the community.

Monarch also promotes from within. Our first recruitment effort is within, which is why the company focuses on the development of its people within the organization so that the skills needed 3 and 4 years in the future will be there.

In my experiences, I observe a diminishing effort in this country by the education system to prepare people for the jobs that we have remaining in this country. Monarch Marking Systems has responded to this and has spent a lot of resources educating its current work force. So as people come into Monarch with limited skills needed in the work force, what we have done as an employer is to provide additional educational opportunities and job training. 

As to equal employment opportunity, there has to be a commitment by the executive level group. That is an area that I can speak with confidence about Monarch. My boss asks for numbers and that presentation was given to the executive staff, and there was a definite indication in that message sent that we need to broaden our representation to reflect the population that exists in our nation.

Concerning observed differences in minority employment between private and public employers, it may be the result of underlying human dynamics. Among minorities there often is more of a sense of community first, whereas in the business world people come into a business and I think their career is there but one’s personal associations are typically outside of that business network. In public organizations, I observe more community bonding relationships that are formed there. So it is a lot easier to walk away from a job or get recruited from a company in the private sector versus leaving a job in the public sector where one also has personal relationships.[6]  

Bank One-Dayton

Two representatives from Bank One-Dayton testified. Donna Willis is the employee relations consultant for Bank One and has responsibility for the company’s affirmative action plan as well as the employee relations functions related to diversity. Carol Foltz manages employment for Bank One in southwest Ohio. Carol Foltz talked about the diversity of the bank and its external efforts to ensure equal employment opportunity.

I think Bank One does very well in terms of its diversity. In the professional and managerial categories, 17 percent of the bank’s work force are minorities. There is a lot of turnover and growth in the banking industry and that allows for a lot of hiring opportunity. The bank hires between 800 and 1,200 employees a year in the Dayton market.  

Over the years the management of the bank has really felt diversity was important and supported it and would even keep requisitions open until we found diverse candidates. It takes that kind of management support to make a difference and change the way things are.

The bank, as you would expect, has large numbers of clerical people who have entered the organization. One of the employment goals developed over the years has been a determination to develop individuals into entry level supervisors. So many of our internal training programs are devised to help people develop some of those skills. 

Although our outreach has been on all levels, it seems increasingly challenging to find women and minorities in some of the job categories that we look for among the professional ranks. Some of the things we have been most successful in doing is really networking. Also having minority recruiters helps a great deal. The bank has done college programs, but as our company has gone to a more national approach there is not as much college recruiting at the local level.[7] 

Donna Willis addressed some specific internal initiatives by the bank to ensure equal employment opportunity. She made a special note of the strong support from the bank’s senior management for diversity and equal employment opportunity issues. 

Bank One has had the good fortune to have senior management support the whole issue of diversity and affirmative action. The bank formed a task force 8 to 10 years ago to specifically deal with not only recruitment, but beyond that how the bank could retain the people it recruited. Out of that effort developed some recommendations. 

One of those developments was the creation of a support networking group for minorities in professional positions. The bank learned that even if it was successful in hiring minority employees, without a support group for people to talk and share experiences and so forth they might decide to go somewhere else that looked a little more attractive. And that group remains very active.

Another recommendation to senior management was an integrated approach to diversity. The recommendation was adopted and began in full force in 1994. As part of the effort there are awareness type programs, mentoring and sponsorship programs, and holding managers accountable for affirmative action within their work units. Regarding the later, the bank has sent the message internally that diversity is a performance issue for managers and all employees.[8]  

Standard Register 

John Scarpelli, personnel director of the Standard Register Company, talked about the company, its jobs, career opportunities for minorities, and about the issue of equal employment opportunity in general.

Standard Register is a company that has its headquarters in Dayton Ohio, and underwent a major acquisition in January 1998. Nationally the company employs about 9,400 employees. In Dayton there are approximately 900 employees between the headquarters and the local manufacturing operations. The company produces business forms as well as a host of other products found in offices. In addition, Standard does plastic cards and provides direct mail services such as creating documents, printing brochures, distributing mail and annual reports.

Standard has been around for 75 years, and in the last few years the company has begun to change some of the things that it does from an internal human resource development point of view, which I think impacts the equal employment opportunity situation.

Traditionally, most of our management, supervisory, and leadership positions come by promotion and development from within. Now we are beginning to change that, specifically as we grow some of these new businesses. We now have print centers around the country. This is one of the fastest growing businesses we have, so we are hiring more from the outside where even 5 years ago we did not recruit management or supervisory employees from the outside; it was all internal.  

In appointing managers, leaders, supervisors, and officials, our biggest challenge, like that faced by other employers, is one of ensuring that opportunities are provided and, as importantly, mentoring opportunities are there also for all employees. The company has come to realize that the both informal and formal mentoring is a very, very important part of what is necessary to be done to ensure that there’s a growth in opportunity.

Another new area the company is beginning to enter is in the area of internships as a development tool to try and give individuals some additional insight into what a business operation is about. I think we, as other employers in our category, have some distance to go in terms of diversity. And I think that the natural systems that we use in human resources do not result in the kind of results that we need. So we need to look at different ways and new ways to develop and identify individuals to move forward in the organization.[9] 

[1] Testimony of Michael O’Hara before the Ohio Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, factfinding meeting, June 11, 1998, Dayton, OH, transcript, pp. 51–68 (hereafter cited as Transcript).

[2] Testimony of Leon Walker, Transcript, pp. 69–77.

[3] Testimony of Thomas A. Payne, Transcript, pp. 78–89.

[4] Appearance before a State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is voluntary. Although representatives from General Motors could not appear at the factfinding meeting on the date scheduled, company officials did meet and speak with the chair of the Ohio Advisory Committee.

[5] Testimony of Mark Kingseed, Transcript, pp. 92–108.

[6] Testimony of Rhonda Mangieri, Transcript, pp. 120–35.

[7] Testimony of Carol Foltz, Transcript, pp. 136–42.

[8] Testimony of Donna Willis, Transcript, pp. 137–45.

[9] Testimony of John Scarpelli, Transcript, pp. 152–55.