Whether you think “woke” is a good thing or a bad thing, Guilford County government has certainly been waking up in a big way recently.

After nearly tripling the size of its MWBE Department in one day earlier this year, buying expensive software to track all county spending in terms of diversity, and spending about $300,000 on a major diversity study before that, the county is now kicking off a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiative meant to make county employees more aware of racist and other undesirable behavior and also make them more respectful of those who are different from them.

Earlier this year, Guilford County solicited requests for proposals for a DEI Initiative and received 14 bids from responsible bidders.

The work includes, but isn’t limited to, the following: “conduct … an organizational assessment, policy and process analysis, review current business practices, identify opportunities to address inclusion barriers, and develop a strategic plan.”

The county put together a “diverse staff panel” which selected Innolect, Inc to provide the service at a cost of $228,000.

Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said that it is important that the county beef up its DEI efforts. He added that both county employees and customers of the county’s services will benefit.

“It’s always a good thing to learn more,” he said.

“If you haven’t been introduced to it,” Alston said of DEI practices, “then you only know what you know.”

Innolect is a female-owned firm that consults on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in both the public and private sector. The company handles DEI initiatives for various Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, governments, and nonprofits.

The contract with the company includes an option to renew after the initial two-year period which runs into mid-June 2025.