ALBERT LEA, Minn. - The city of Albert Lea is changing the way job applications are processed, with the goal of making the city a more inclusive community.
If someone goes to apply for a job as a city worker, their name and address will be removed form the applications before being passed along to the hiring managers.
Shalanda Berry thinks this idea to remove names and addresses from applications is non-traditional, but the right place to start when hiring new people.
"You don't have that information so you got to kind of choose other areas to kind of focus than just the names so I think it's great, something new," Berry said.
City leaders said there are a few reasons they're making these changes. First, they want to remove any potential bias impacting the hiring process.
"People would like to say that they're not [bias]," Mike Zelenak, the human resource director for Albert Lea, said, "but there's a lot of factors that go into it from where you live, where you grew up, what religion you might be, and what your grandma and grandpa talked about that all go to make up a person's you consciousness or their unbiases in the world."
They said they also want to get rid of the perception that you have to "know somebody" to get a job with the city.
Zelenak said it's important now more than ever to look through every application fairly.
As the labor market changes, is becoming tighter, you know you don't get as many applications for open positions as you used to. You want to make sure that you look at every one of them and evaluate those applications on the content.
Those in the community said this might be more challenging for the city, but something that could get more people to apply for jobs.
"I think it would be pretty hard," Charlie Morris, of Albert Lea, said. " It would be good in some type of ways because you know they wouldn't know who they are. It'd be a fresh start."
Applicants will also no longer be asked about their salary history. That's because the city said since women and people of color usually make less than white men, they don't want to know the salary history because it's not a good data point.