President Biden on Friday signed an executive order aimed at increasing diversity and inclusion in the federal workforce.
The White House said in a press release that while the government has made progress toward fostering a more equitable and inclusive environment, “too many underserved communities remain under-represented.”
The executive order establishes an initiative led by the Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget to advance employment opportunities among people of color, women, first-generation professionals and immigrants, individuals with disabilities, LBGTQ+ individuals, Americans from rural areas, older Americans, and others.
All agencies have 100 days to review how members of underserved communities are currently represented within their workforce and are encouraged to establish chief diversity officer roles.
“As the nation’s largest employer, the federal government must be a model for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, where all employees are treated with dignity and respect,” the order states. “Accordingly, the federal government must strengthen its ability to recruit, hire, develop, promote, and retain our nation’s talent and remove barriers to equal opportunity.”
The president has also asked agencies to reduce their reliance on unpaid internships and to address pay equity by considering taking an applicant’s salary history out of the equation when making compensation decisions.
Training opportunities will be expanded and the government will create a comprehensive plan to address workplace harassment.
The executive branch employed 1.1 million individuals who identified as men and including 905,000 women in 2017, the latest data reported by OPM.
At that time minorities made up about 36.7% of the federal workforce, comprised of 18.2% Black staffers and 8.8% Hispanic or Latino.