Training for the Reality of Diversity: Applying the DEI Training Ladder to a MPA Core Course

The effective public sector must facilitate relationships between the government and the public that reflect the increasing cultural diversity of their communities. With the reality of increasing diversity and heightened awareness of the impact of public policies within this expanding reality, public service programs must prepare future public and nonprofit managers. By synthesizing concepts from Critical Race Theory and Cultural Competency, this article creates the DEI Training Ladder as a training framework. Then, the framework is applied to the case study of a specific Master of Public Administration program’s DEI core course. The DEI Training Ladder guides the preparation and execution of the course. As a result, the course emphasizes cultural and diversity awareness, disparate policy impacts, and DEI practices. This case study outlines the course context, content, and structure followed by course impact based on student reflections. The concluding discussion makes implementation recommendations for a core DEI course with additional suggestions for incorporating DEI throughout the curriculum.