The White House has released a government-wide strategic plan to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) for the Federal workforce, as required under President Biden’s June 25 DEIA executive order (EO).

The strategic plan aims to help agencies implement the DEIA EO and provide a roadmap for agencies to follow to strengthen DEIA in their workforce policies, practices, and culture.

“Even with decades of progress building a Federal workforce that draws from the full diversity of the nation, many underserved communities remain under-represented in the Federal workforce, especially in positions of leadership,” the plan says. “As the nation’s largest employer, the Federal workforce must be our country’s model of excellence for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.”

The plan provides agencies with five operating principles to advance and sustain DEIA. These include:

  • “Use data and evidence-based decision-making;
  • Focus on continuous improvement;
  • Adopt a collaborative whole-of-agency mandate with partnership engagement;
  • Prioritize accountability and sustainability; and
  • Understand the perspectives of the workforce and the customers.”

Some of the concrete priorities in the plan include creating a framework to address workplace harassment, establishing or elevating chief diversity officers or diversity and inclusion officers within agencies, promoting the use of paid internships, improving the collection of demographic data, and expanding DEIA training.

Agencies are tasked with assessing the current state of DEIA within their agency and developing their own Agency DEIA Strategic Plan by March 23, 2022.

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Among the communities that the EO will work to help advance opportunities for include people of color; women; first-generation professionals and immigrants; individuals with disabilities; LGBTQ+ individuals; Americans who live in rural areas; older Americans who face age discrimination when seeking employment; parents and caregivers who face employment barriers; people of faith who require religious accommodations; individuals who were formerly incarcerated; and veterans and military spouses.

“The executive order reaffirms that the United States (U.S.) is at its strongest when our nation’s workforce reflects the communities it serves, and when our public servants are fully equipped to advance equitable outcomes for all American communities,” the guide says. “Meeting this mandate requires all of us – public servants at all levels of every agency – to contribute to advancing DEIA in the Federal workforce.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.