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Today’s workforce must continue to develop new skills, particularly cultural ones, that allow them to work with people of different races, countries and cultures, said Kevin Jones, assistant professor of management at IUPUC.
Today’s world is rapidly changing, not just in technology, but in language and cultural skills that people need to work with others from all backgrounds, Jones said.
To acquire those skills, people must move out of their comfort zones and reach out to members of other races, cultures and ethnicities with whom they are not familiar, he said.
“It is no longer something that we can choose to do. This is something that I believe we must do,” Jones said.
He has focused his research on organizational development and learning, communication competencies and leadership. He is researching capabilities African-American leaders employ to navigate non-diverse organizations.
Today, people can no longer live in a city with a sizable population of Chinese or Indians and not have any interaction with that population, he said.
“The idea of being within your own group is an outdated notion,” Jones said.
Jones knows this firsthand.
When he came to work at IUPUC, he was the only African-American faculty member.
As he has found himself in similar circumstances previously, he developed an interest in figuring out what new sets of skills, and what new ways of thinking people have to adopt to be able to express who they are — understanding they may not be fully understood.
Students are learning things from him that are not in their background, Jones said. At the same time, he’s learning about their backgrounds, which means such interactions are mutually beneficial.
Jones will be the featured speaker at the Nov. 9 Freedom Fund/Scholarship Banquet of the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
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