The murder of George Floyd in police custody in May 2020 sparked discussion across the auto retail world about how to best address employment gaps of underrepresented groups in the industry.
There was confusion on how — and where — to start.
Many diversity, equity and inclusion programs that flourish in corporate environments tend to fall short of dealership expectations, said Fleming Ford, president of ESI Trends, an employment research and consulting firm in Clearwater, Fla., that works with more than 500 dealerships. Dealerships differ greatly from more "corporate" environments with fixed roles, schedules and benefits, Ford said.
"It's a struggle to bring people from outside to talk to our dealers because everyone's automatic response is, 'You don't get it,' " Ford said. "And there really wasn't anybody that we could find in automotive who specialized in this already."