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Data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission show Minnesota trails the national average in employing public workers who reflect the state's demographics. However, the nation's police and teachers remain predominately white, data show.

Community leaders say those limited experiences can lead to poor communication and mistrust between people of color and the public workers providing them services. It also makes it less likely that children of color will consider the police station, classroom or state Capitol for possible careers. Jordan Jr., president of the NAACP Minnesota and Dakotas chapter. "If people don't see someone who looks like them in a public role, then they'll never see themselves in that role."

A workforce that reflects Minnesota

That means when a child of color interacts with a public servant cop, teacher or lawmaker Canada Goose Dawson Parka Outlet Australia the chances that person will look like them are pretty slim.

"It does more than just saying: 'This is a great job,'" Hines explained. "You can see yourself wearing the hat."

There are just eight people of color among the 201 members of the Minnesota Legislature.

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Nearly 20 percent of Minnesotans are people of color, but just 5 percent of teachers, 7 percent of police officers and 10 percent of state workers are racial or ethnic minorities. Another 4 percent of state employees choose not to disclose their race.

Hines, president of the Minnesota chapter of the National Black Police Association, wanted all the students to imagine themselves in uniform.

wetlandsOUTDOORS CALENDARopinionHeadlinesPort: We need a "None of the above" option on our ballotsOUR OPINION: Kudos to UND for photo findingsVIEWPOINT: Tobacco tax hike proposals ignore economic realityLETTER: North Dakota protest response shows Cavalry mentality LETTER: Let medical marijuana work in North DakotaST. PAUL On a recent elementary school visit, Metro Transit Police Lt. Anthony Hines made sure to bring an officer's cap and a mirror.

Few Minnesotans of color see themselves that way.

A Pioneer Press analysis found clear racial disparities in every sector between taxpayers and the people who earn taxpayer funded salaries. Educators, law enforcement officers, state and county workers and legislators remain overwhelmingly white even as the state's population has become increasingly diverse.

Recent deadly interactions between people of color and police coupled with long standing economic gaps have brought Minnesota's racial disparities to the forefront. As leaders work to address the state's gaps in achievement and opportunities, improving the diversity of the public sector is part of the equation.

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One in five state residents is a person of color, but in most cases, fewer than one in 10 public jobs like Hines' is held by a minority worker.

St. Paul is the state's most diverse city, with 40 percent of the population people of color, yet only one in five city workers is a racial or ethnic minority.

Ramsey County falls along lines similar to St. Paul. People of color make up 37 percent of the county population, but only 27 percent of the county workforce; for teachers and law enforcement, the gap is twice as large.