The role that data plays in meeting the demands of the Biden administration’s agenda for enhanced diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) policies is substantial, but only part of the picture, Federal experts said during a Feb. 21 GovLoop webinar.

Neonu Jewell, chief diversity inclusion officer at the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), detailed the importance of data to meeting DEIA mandates, but also talked about the need to have systems in place to be able to control and disseminate the data.

“Yes, data is important,” she said. “But data is only as good as you can get your hands on it, you can compile it, you can track it, and you can manipulate it to be able to report it.”

“Also having systems in place that allow you to compile, track, and disseminate that data – and that it’s sustainable and that it’s easy to find, regardless of who sits in various chairs” – are also necessary, Jewell said.

Sharon Wong, executive director for strategic recruitment, diversity and inclusion at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), talked about the vital role that data plays in enhancing Federal government DEIA policies.

“We’ve got to recruit,” she said. “Does [the data] line up with the groups that are underrepresented or underserved in your workforce? Does the data flow tell you about … who you are hiring and onboarding,” Wong asked.

“It’s about being curious about that data – that’s so important because [you have] to be able to look at it across the board as opposed to just picking on any one of those letters from possible candidates,” she said.

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.