There is a new executive order President Biden signed to invigorate diversity in the federal workforce. Biden plans to make the federal workforce better. Offices and Commissions came together to form a governmentwide diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility initiative. Biden’s order is an optimistic approach to better the federal workforce. Former president Trump signed an executive order omitting federal agencies and contractors from engaging in “divisive” diversity job training programs, where “critical race theory” is among subjects.

Employees at the VA’s department said that racism was a “serious problem” in the workplace. An issue that has been persisting for decades despite efforts, equal opportunities and more leadership positions for women and people of color. There are laws in the new order directed to the LGBTQ+. There are edicts in the order in relation to those with disabilities. The new executive order is calculated, and it should spark much improvement in the federal workforce. Biden’s new order builds on the laws undertaken during the Obama administration along with some ideas of his own that includes improved recruitment, retention, and professional development.

President Biden said that “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,”. In other words, the federal government must lead by example so that the whole entire federal workforce can follow confidently. Organizations will be tasked to evaluate their policies to make sure they meet the expected standards. It includes people of color, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. It encourages agencies to hire chief diversity officers.  It also requires the creation of a governmentwide plan to address workplace harassment, including sexual harassment, and strengthened policies to prevent, report, investigate and monitor instances of harassment. 75.9% of respondents working in the VA department reported experiencing “racially charged actions” in the workplace.

Biden orders that organizations begin recruitment partnerships with HBCU’s. This includes “support services” to transgender, gender non-conforming and non-binary employees if they wish to transition “legally, medically or socially.” And making sure they have access to the governments long term health insurances and benefits. Agencies were directed to improve accessibility both at federal facilities and in the technologies used at work, as well as to make it easier for people with disabilities to request rational accommodations from their employer. The new executive order was very intentional, and we are looking forward to seeing the impact it has on the federal workforce.

By: Tanezha Mingo