A new website launched by a group led by a top strategist on Ready for Hillary aims to connect vendors and staffers of color with campaigns this cycle.
Diversity is a getting more attention in the industry after the major national party committees were found in a 2014 report to have spent the overwhelming majority of their dollars on white political consultants over the past two election cycles.
Quentin James, who serves as black Americans director at Ready for Hillary, wants to do for staffers and vendors of color what Democratic GAIN has done for aspiring campaign professionals: connect them with the people who are doing the hiring.
Together with Alida Garcia, Gregory Cendana and donor Steve Phillips, James helped launch launched the site Inclusv, which already has accumulated 500 resumes and business profiles and partnered with 25 different companies looking to use the database.
“For a long time, many of us have served as recruiters for the Democratic Party,” James tells C&E. “Hopefully this will have a bigger impact.”
Hiring for campaigns and consulting firms is notoriously informal. Resumes are passed between friends and acquaintances or posted on servers like GAIN in the hope they’ll catch a manager’s eye. As the cycle ratchets up, though, finding staff for a growing campaign can be difficult.
“You’re on the phone a lot; you’re scouring the Internet,” says James. “We want to help those folks who are going to be in the midst of very competitive races focus on that work and not on the work of hiring.”
For now the site is strictly Democratic, but Republicans have reached out about getting involved, according to James. “There’s been tremendous buy in. We’ve already been talking to the presumptive nominees for president.”
The site, which is billed as a “bridge between talented professionals and vendors owned by people of color and the amazing campaigns and political organizations that aim to hire them,” isn’t strictly a resume clearing house. James says submissions are screened and employers have to agree to a follow-up visit to “make sure that the work culture is also inclusive.”
“We’re not granting access to all of this stuff willy-nilly. We want to make sure our reputations are protected, along with those whose [resumes we’re submitting].”
Resumes can be submitted for free on a rolling basis. “We have a pretty aggressive evaluation process behind the scenes to make sure that folks are categorized on their expertise and interest. We’re not going to [submit] entry level resumes for senior-level positions. We’re going to make sure they’re getting matched with their appropriated opportunity.”
The goal, James says, is to change the work culture on the left and make its hiring more diverse.
“Without accountability all this is just words. We want to put the action behind the words,” he says. “The hope is that after 2016, the Democratic Party is so diverse we don’t have to exist anymore.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story reported that Inclusv has plans to expand into Republican circles. At the moment there are no official plans, but Republicans have reached out about getting involved.