Diversity at Work

Delaware is firmly committed to diversity as a vital element in a thriving economy.


Diversity is a Vital Element in Delaware’s Thriving Economy

Delaware’s legacy as an innovative and forward-thinking state is the indestructible foundation upon which today’s diverse and inclusive industries thrive. Administrative, industry, educational and professional organizations continue to cultivate, engage and promote diversity in the workplace to ensure every individual and business receives equal opportunity.

The state fully committed to this mission by creating one of the most proactive Offices of Supplier Diversity (OSD) in the nation. OSD maximizes supplier diversity by assisting government agencies in identifying certified diverse suppliers and eligible small business vendors when purchasing and contracting for materials and services for the state. OSD maintains a publicly accessible online directory of certified diverse suppliers including businesses owned by minorities, women, veterans, service-disabled veterans, and individuals with disabilities.

Delaware was ranked #1 for Average Number of Minority Female-Owned Businesses and #2 for Average Number of Minority-Owned Businesses by Paychex in 2018. What’s more, Delaware was one of the first states to ratify the federal Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) after Congress passed it in 1972.

Historical Firsts in the First State

Lisa Blunt-Rochester became the first woman and the first African-American to represent Delaware in Congress in 2017.

Our Diverse Population

Over 23% of Delaware’s population is African-American according to most recent Census data, representing the eighth-largest percentage in the country. A nationwide demographic analysis commissioned by USA Today in 2014 concluded that Delaware will rank as the 14th most-diverse state in the country by 2060, with Northern Delaware’s racial and ethnic mix rising to the top six percent of counties nationwide. In addition, the USA Today analysis found that by 2060, projections show Hispanics will eclipse African-Americans as the largest minority group in Southern Delaware.

Corporate Equality

Four companies headquartered in Delaware — AstraZeneca, Corteva, DuPont and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield — received a perfect score on the 2020 Corporate Equality Index published by the Human Rights Campaign. Additionally, multiple top employers in Delaware received perfect scores, including JPMorgan Chase, FMC and Capital One. DuPont scored 100% on the 2020 Disability Equality Index.

For the ninth consecutive year, ChristianaCare has been recognized as a leader in LGBTQ+ health care equality, with both Christiana Hospital and Wilmington Hospital earning LGBTQ+ Health Care Equality Leader designations from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation — the highest recognition in the foundation’s Healthcare Equality Index. Bayhealth, predominantly serving Central Delaware, has also achieved leader status in LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality.

Support for Black-owned Businesses

The Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce is a vital hub for connecting Black business owners and entrepreneurs with the resources needed to assist them in growing their enterprise and creating new economic opportunities and job growth throughout the First State. As a new member of the National Black Chamber family, they now have an even broader platform to engage, educate and empower established businesses and business owners, as well as future entrepreneurs.

A Diverse Talent Pipeline

Delaware State University in Dover plays an essential role in providing a diverse talent pipeline for Delaware and the region. With a total undergraduate enrollment of 4,600, DSU is the state’s second largest university and its only Historically Black College and University (HBCU). Delaware State offers a range of programs across disciplines and levels, including 42 undergraduate degree programs, 16 master’s degree programs and five doctoral degree programs.

In the 2020 U.S. News & World Report rankings, DSU ranked in the top 3% for social mobility and ranked #11 in the nation for best HBCU.

Innovative State Programs Supporting Diversity

  • The WIN Factory: The WIN Factory is Wilmington’s first Black-owned coworking space with a mission to create a community of mutual support for entrepreneurs.

  • First Founder’s Accelerator: The Accelerator’s mission is to boost underrepresented founders — those from one or more groups including racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, and women — with a free 12-week program of educational sessions and mentoring.

  • Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem (E3): Barclays US Consumer Bank, Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation, and Wilmington Alliance partnered to create E3 to foster racial equity, especially in terms of resources, contracts, and funding.

  • Zip Code Wilmington: Zip Code Wilmington is a successful nonprofit software development bootcamp in downtown Wilmington. On average, over 35% of the students represent racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in tech and 23% are female.

  • Girls Who Code: Girls Who Code is a nationwide nonprofit organization that aims to support and increase the number of women in computer science. In Delaware, Girls Who Code offers club programs for K-12 children, a college support program and, most recently, a seven-week immersion program in downtown Wilmington for high school girls.

  • Year UP: Year UP is a national non-profit organization with a location in Wilmington. Year UP takes students with little or no job experience through a six-month training program and then connects the students with a participating employer for a six- month internship. Typically, more than 90% of participating students identify as Black, Latinx/Hispanic or multi-racial.

  • FAME: Founded in 1974 by DuPont, FAME was one of the nation’s first nonprofits focused on exposing under-represented populations to science and math professions. FAME has served more than 17,000 students through academic enrichment programs and outreach.

Historical Firsts in the First State

  • In 2020, Sarah McBride Became the country’s first transgender state senator.

  • Lisa Blunt-Rochester became the first woman and the first African-American to represent Delaware in Congress in 2017.

  • In 2017, the City of Wilmington launched an annual event, HBCU Week, to promote awareness among local students and their families about the importance of HBCUs. The goal of the event is to create more opportunities for Wilmington’s young people to attend college. At the 2020 virtual event, almost 5,000 students attended, 800 students received acceptance and more than $7 million was offered in scholarship by participating HBCUs.