General Assembly passes legislation to require cultural competency training for state employees


STATE HOUSE — The General Assembly today passed legislation introduced by Rep. Joshua J. Giraldo (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls) and Sen. Sandra Cano (D-Dist. 8, Pawtucket) that would require state employees to undergo cultural competency training.

The legislation (2022-H 7737A, 2022-S 2236A) would require the Office of Diversity, Equity and Opportunity (ODEO) to create the training program, which all state employees would be required to receive annually.

“Cultural competency is much more than a willingness to overlook our differences,” said Representative Giraldo. “It’s respecting diversity through our words and actions and developing meaningful relationships with people of various cultural backgrounds. Everyone deserves to experience respect and dignity in their dealings with state government, and this legislation makes that a priority by acknowledging the fact that cultural competency is an ongoing process of self-awareness, developing social skills and behaviors around diversity, and the ability to empathize and advocate for others.”

Cultural competency is an understanding of how institutions and individuals can respectfully respond to people from all different backgrounds such as race, language, economic, gender, veterans and disabilities.

“As our society continues to become more diverse, our local and state public servants need to know how best to interact with and serve our multi-faceted communities,” said Senator Cano. “These trainings will prepare our public workers with the knowledge and compassion to effectively help and assist the general public who embody every walk of life in our state.”

The measure now moves to the governor’s office.