Diversity a Priority for the LSRPA
Wednesday, June 23, 2021 12:43 PM
The LSRPA continues to look at its membership, where it should be going, and how it wants to get there. Establishing a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive Association is a priority.

When it surveyed LSRPs last year, the LSRPA found 77 percent were men and 88 percent identified their race as white. Only 1 percent identified as Hispanic, Latin or Spanish ethnicity. And 60 percent were 50 years of age or older.

In contrast, the New Jersey population is 51.3 percent female and 48.7 percent male, according to the 2010 census. Fifty-nine percent identified as white and 18 percent identified as Hispanic or Latin. Only 41 percent were older than age 45. The 2020 demographic information has not been released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The LSRP profession, of course, is based on experience and expertise in the area of the environmental remediation, not demographics. Still, diversity matters. “As an organization built around projects that take us into diverse neighborhoods, we must also consider the varied cultures in those communities and how our projects impact their lives.” This sentence is part of a longer LSRPA statement issued last year that committed the organization to fight against institutionalized racism and embrace diversity.

Some LSRPA programs to encourage diversity are underway or just beginning.

For example, LSRPA scholarships are providing more opportunities for qualifying students. To date, three-quarters of the awardees have been women. About half have been of Hispanic, African American, or of Asian descent. The demographics of the scholarship awards are one indication that the environmental profession may be beginning to diversity.

The Aspiring Professional Committee also is considering outreach to high school students to inspire the next generation of environmental professionals.

A nascent LSRPA committee also is being formed and beginning to consider its mission and goals. Expect more from the committee in the future.