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Compact continues to push Mass. diversity benchmarks

Kenneth J. Cooper | 7/8/2009, 5:23 a.m.

Other sectors are spotty. The Massachusetts Biotechnology Council has signed up, but not Genentech or Genzyme. In financial services, Putnam Investments and John Hancock are participating; so far, Fidelity and Bank of America are not.

Prominent local brands, Staples and The TJX Companies, have joined, while others have yet to do so — Raytheon, Dunkin’ Donuts and Stop and Shop.

Among broadcasters, WGBH and WCVB are on the list, while WBZ or WHDH aren’t. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Boston Children’s Museum have joined; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra haven’t.

Turner says some institutions have been contacted and are seeking assurances about the confidentiality of the data. Currently, the state government, with 64,000 employees, is the largest entity to join. Because the smallest have as few as five workers, a large number of institutions could potentially participate.

“Hardly anybody has said no,” Turner reports. “A good number of prominent organizations are not on there because they haven’t been asked. We’re small. We’re starting up.”

The recruitment, retention and promotion of employees of color has been a recurring issue in the state, going back at least as far as the battles over school desegregation four decades ago. The Commonwealth Compact represents a coordinated, collective effort to demonstrate that the state has moved beyond its racially-tarnished past and to assemble a diverse workforce that is representative up and down the corporate ranks.

“It will happen eventually, but we don’t want to wait 30 years when we’re just overwhelmed” by changing workforce demographics, Meléndez says. “We don’t want Massachusetts to lose out on 30 years of innovation.”