20 ICE Managers Complete Sensitivity Training Course at LA's Museum of Tolerance

By Susan Jones | March 28, 2016 | 11:41am EDT
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency describes its mission as "smart immigration enforcement, preventing terrorism and combating the illegal movement of people and trade." (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) says 20 of its "high-level" managers have just completed a training program at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, making ICE the first federal law enforcement agency to partner with the museum on training of this type.

The intensive, three-day course focused on "promoting greater cultural awareness" among members of ICE's leadership team.

“There’s a current exhibit at the Museum of Tolerance that asks visitors to 'change the way you see and see the way you change,'" said ICE Director Sarah R. Saldaña. “That’s really the crux of what we’re seeking to accomplish through this joint initiative. We want ICE’s leaders to be agents of change, taking what they learn in this training and using it to transform the way they tackle the daily challenges they face in the workplace.”

The course, using the museum's interactive exhibits, challenges participants to "recognize their own inherent cultural biases and identify ways to develop progressive leadership practices in their respective programs," the news release said.

ICE says it first approached the Museum of Tolerance in 2014 to discuss the creation of a training program for high-level supervisors who are managing an increasingly diverse workforce. After conducting several pilot sessions, the curriculum was expanded to include scenarios that ICE personnel may confront when dealing with people outside the agency as well.

Last week’s class was the first of three training sessions ICE anticipates hosting at the Museum of Tolerance this year.

The course is taught by museum personnel along with ICE managers who attended the earlier, pilot sessions. One of those previously trained managers said the program "helps participants understand how their own biases and preconceived views not only impact their ability to be effective leaders, but may also impede the agency from contributing in the most positive manner to our communities.”

As part of the training, attendees also hear from guest speakers, including Congressional Gold Medal recipient Terrence James Roberts, who was among the first nine black students to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas in 1957.

The Museum of Tolerance, which opened to the public in 1993, describes itself as a human rights laboratory and educational center dedicated to challenging visitors to understand the Holocaust...and confront all forms of prejudice and discrimination in today’s world."

The museum says it attacts more than 250,000 visitors annually.

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