Audience listens to a panel during one of the earlier forums.

'Breaking New Ground' is Theme of 26th Forum on Workplace Inclusion in Minneapolis March 18-20

“Breaking new ground” is the theme of the 26th annual Forum on Workplace Inclusion, a national conference that runs March 18 to 20 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

The forum, formerly known as the Multicultural Forum on Workplace Diversity, is presented by the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas. The Travelers Companies Inc. is the lead sponsor.

The forum is designed for those who manage a diverse workforce, who are responsible for diversity within organizations of all sizes, or who work with multicultural clientele. One of the largest diversity and inclusion conferences in the country, the forum attracts more than 1,200 participants from 35 states and more than 300 companies.

The forum runs Tuesday through Thursday, March 18 to 20. It will include a Career Services Center Tuesday and Wednesday, March 18 and 19; a Career Fair, with sessions specifically for veterans, on Wednesday, March 19; and a Resource Expo on Wednesday and Thursday, March 19 and 20. More than 50 Midwest companies will be represented at the Career Services Center and Career Fair, which are free and open to the public.

Participants can choose to attend all or any of the days. Information can be found on the forum’s website.

The forum features four general sessions, 65 concurrent learning sessions, and eight program tracks for those interested in specific areas such as government, health care and law.

Among the general-session speakers this year are Chris Roberts, president of Cargill Kitchen Solutions, and Rinku Sen, president and executive director of The Applied Research Center.

“In 2013 we instituted a co-creation process … drawing on the wisdom of our participants … to create what we collectively thought was the action needed to effectively break barriers and move forward in diversity and inclusion,” explained the forum’s executive director, Steve Humerickhouse. “These observations helped us craft both the concurrent and general sessions for the 2014 conference.”

The forum began in 1988 as a two-hour video conference. In addition to its professional staff, more than 40 volunteers assist with planning workshops and logistics, and more than 150 volunteers will help staff the conference.