Partners in DEI

The Columbus Partnership, its members and other ally organizations actively work to close economic inequities in the Columbus Region.

Critical Gaps

As the Columbus Region grows its economy and population, it is imperative that we address some of the most critical gaps in raising the standard of living and increasing the economic mobility for our residents. Examples of these gaps include:

Inequality in Career Mobility

Black residents with a four-year degree are nearly 40% less likely than white residents with a four-year degree to have a job that pays $30 per hour or more.

Inequality in Educational Attainment

Only 30% of 25-to 35-year-old Black residents have a two-year degree or higher, compared to over 60% of white residents of the same age group.

Inequality in Ownership

Workers of color account for 20% of the Region’s workforce, but own only 5% of potentially high-growth, wealth-creating businesses.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in Action

The Columbus Partnership is guided by, and committed to, the Columbus Way. This practice of community stewardship informs the values and principles that power progress in the Columbus Region. Focusing on these tactics will help drive change within Columbus Partnership companies.

DEI Labs

Increasing understanding of and accelerating adoption of equitable business practices. Closing equity gaps will require changing how businesses operate. Businesses are already acting, but re-engineering practices and policies is challenging. The Partnership will support necessary change by organizing business leaders and providing data, connections to local partners and national innovators, and a platform for peer-to-peer innovation. Find additional information below.

Catalytic Investments

Organizing businesses around high-impact initiatives. The Region’s success will depend on an array of community organizations. The Partnership will make the business community’s investments in these organizations more impactful by elevating investment opportunities that are aligned with shared goals and coordinating investments so that they have maximum impact.


Creating the most informed and committed business community in the country. The Partnership will communicate success stories to build momentum, monitor the Region’s progress towards its objectives, and engage CEOs in conversations about inequities and the business imperative to address them.

DEI Labs

Operationalizing Inequality in Career Mobility

To address implementing and scaling the practices required to hire, retain and advance Black and minority talent, DEI Labs were launched in October 2022 with DEI leaders within 20 Partnership companies. DEI Labs provide participants with the time and resources to work collaboratively with their peers on technical challenges of their choosing for about four months. The Partnership hopes to inspire the broader business community to change practices by sharing examples of individual company changes resulting from the labs.

The first two, simultaneously running DEI Labs were focused on (1) setting DEI goals and beginning to integrate goals into operations and (2) recruiting Black and minority talent. Next, another round of labs will be launched that will focus on challenges related to integrating goals into operations (not just setting goals) and retaining and advancing Black and minority talent (not just recruiting).

DEI Lab #1: Setting DEI Goals and Beginning to Integrate Goals into Operations

Objective: This DEI Lab would help companies set clear, measurable, realistic DEI goals. It would provide a framework of categories in which companies might consider setting goals and data on the Columbus economy to help companies set the right goals. For example, data on the demographics of the emerging workforce would help companies set specific goals for workforce diversity. The lab will involve discussion about challenging topics like the degree to which goals should focus on specific underrepresented populations versus minorities overall, or how businesses can balance the need to be ambitious with the need to be realistic. It may also involve discussion on how to set up systems to track progress towards these goals.

Outcomes and Deliverables

Participating Companies

  • Advanced Drainage Systems
  • American Electric Power
  • American Honda Motor Company, Inc.
  • Big Lots
  • Cardinal Health
  • Denison University
  • Encova Insurance
  • Grange Insurance
  • Hexion
  • Huntington
  • M/I Homes
  • Mount Carmel Health Systems
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital

DEI Lab #2: Recruiting Black and Minority Talent

Objective: This DEI Lab would help DEI and talent acquisition leaders work together to identify overlooked and untapped sources of Black and minority talent, and build partnerships with those entities as a group. This could include meeting with leaders from local colleges and universities to get better data on their student populations, meeting with leaders from nontraditional talent sources (i.e., tech training programs outside the 2- and 4-year college system) to understand their offerings and exchanging ideas on how to modify recruitment strategies to tap into these sources of talent. This lab could focus more on entry-level or mid-career talent, depending on interest.

Outcomes and Deliverables

Participating Companies

  • CK Construction Group
  • Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc.
  • Greif
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Quantum Health
  • Safelite Group
  • Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP

Get in Touch

For more information about the Columbus Region, please fill out the form.

Robbie Banks
Program Director, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Let’s talk