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Training and Education

PHRC staff members do both in-depth training and brief presentations on topics including civil rights law & PHRC jurisdiction; cross-cultural communication; preventing discrimination in the school or workplace; conflict resolution; bias & hate crimes, and many more.  Topics can be broad, such as a civil rights overview, or as specific as cyberbullying, sexual harassment, predatory lending, or making historic buildings accessible for people with disabilities.  The goal of our presentations is always to promote equal opportunity, and to help communities, public agencies, businesses and schools prevent or eliminate illegal discrimination.
Presentations are tailored to the specific needs of your organization or community. Programs for professionals such as attorneys, architects and educators have been offered for continuing education credits or teacher in-service.

Training is often mandated in a settlement or other legal order resolving a complaint of illegal discrimination. While sometimes requested in response to a specific problem, training is frequently requested by communities or organizations who want to be proactive in their approach to equal opportunity.
Use the training request form (PDF) to request training or a presentation or speaker for your event. To help accommodate your needs, please submit requests at least 90 days in advance. Requests for SPIRIT programs or extensive training may require more advance notice.

Bias & Hate Crime Training

PHRC trains local law enforcement and college campus crime prevention authorities on how to recognize and address hate crimes and bias incidents in their communities. 
Training typically includes:
  • An overview of possible underlying criminal offenses to which a hate crime charge may be added under PA law
  • Incident response methods and effect on community relations
  • Statistical and historical overview of hate crimes, regional hate activity and types of incidents that may escalate into community tension or violence
Training is typically conducted by PHRC attorneys and educational outreach staff members with substantial experience monitoring hate crimes and bias incidents and working with communities to respond to such incidents. 
Training can be designed to suit specific organizational needs and regional demographics and is often conducted in conjunction with the PA State Police, PA Attorney General’s Office and U.S. Department of Justice.

Legal Education

PHRC attorneys conduct legal seminars and other presentations on topics such as practicing before the PA Human Relations Commission; retaliation; theories of illegal discrimination; complying with accessibility laws; and other topics specific to different areas of discrimination.

SPIRIT Training in Schools

PHRC coordinates and conducts a training program called Student Problem Identification and Resolution of Issues Together, or SPIRIT.  The program, designed by the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service, is conducted by PHRC staff and partners from a number of organizations with expertise in the field of conflict resolution. 
The program has been very successful in helping students and educators embrace change in their schools, and address conflict head-on.  It has been a springboard for challenging students to address issues and express their ideas through projects in the arts, history, English and other courses.
Read more about SPIRIT on the U.S. Dept. of Justice website. (Note, SPIRIT programs require several facilitators and require 90 days or more advance notice to organize.)

Teacher and School Personnel In-Service Training 

Equal educational opportunity is key to Pennsylvania's economic success. PHRC staff train educators and other school personnel in issues such as preventing bullying and harassment in the school environment, cultural sensitivity, accommodations for students' religious or disability needs, and many other topics related to equal educational opportunity.

Event Speakers

PHRC commissioners and staff speak on a wide range of civil rights topics at community events across PA.  Biographies of our commissioners can be found under the About Us section.  Request a specific speaker, or let us recommend a speaker by using our training request form (PDF).