LISTEN: Thousands Sign Up for Free USF Course on Workplace Diversity

LISTEN to an interview with Dr. Moez Limayem:

TAMPA -- More than twenty thousand people have signed up for a seven week business certificate program designed to educate business and community leaders on increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.

The University of South Florida's Muma College of Business is teaching the program online, with two-hour classes live each

Wednesday afternoon at 5, starting March 24th. Thanks to a partnership with Jabil Inc., based in St. Petersburg, and the Tampa Bay Lightning, USF is offering the course for free. Those who complete it and finish the exams receive a digital certificate and a Credly badge they can post on LinkedIn.

Dr. Moez Limayem, dean of the college of business, says it's intended to help business leaders and entrepreneurs. "It's not just the right thing to do, it makes perfect sense," Limayem said, adding that businesses that focus on diversity have better market shares and better customer retention.

Limayem says the course is designed to enable participants work on themselves and how they can help their organizations become more diverse, equitable and inclusive.

The course was developed after a report by the Tampa Bay Partnership outlining wealth and opportunity gaps between black and white residents of the region. Limayem says Jabil officials immediately expressed interest after learning about it, as did Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and CEO Steve Griggs.

Equity -- one of the goals mentioned in the description -- has been a controversial term, even coming up in the Senate confirmation hearing for Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland. Limayem says it only means "letting the most qualified (person) get the job."

Photo: Getty Images

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