The Biden administration is working on a “national strategy” for establishing diversity, equity and inclusion policies for the government that officials hope can be used as a template for companies and other organizations throughout the country.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) last week convened the first meeting of the Chief Diversity Officers Executive Council, a group that includes diversity officers from several federal agencies. The council will work to “implement and sustain” a government-wide plan for encouraging policies that support diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) in government hiring and employment.
However, the OPM also said it wants to ensure the government is “our country’s model of excellence” when it comes to implementing DEIA policies.
The council is staffed by Dr. Janice Underwood, the director of OPM’s Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility. The OPM said Underwood’s role in the council effectively makes her the government-wide chief diversity officer, but Underwood said the council also has an eye on influencing organizations beyond the government.
“This historic council will be a nexus of the most promising policies and practices from the public and private sectors alike,” Underwood said. “As a council, the chief diversity officers will collaborate on an approach to advancing DEIA work across the federal government and our society.”
The OPM added that while the council will help government diversity officers advance DEIA goals by setting “clear strategies, benchmarks, and metrics,” it will also collaborate with “public and private stakeholders” on DEIA policies both in the government and “across other employment sectors.”
Underwood was the first DEIA director in the state of Virginia, under Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam. After Underwood was replaced by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, she gave a 2022 interview in which she said people both inside and outside of government need to promote DEIA policies in every aspect of life.
“We need more people who respect and affirm diversity, equity and inclusion to run for political office at all levels,” she reportedly said. “We also need people – commonsense reasonable people and elected officials and their communications partners – to speak up and not be so afraid to speak up at school board meetings, in the media, in the local towns square, at the YMCA, grocery store, and on the campaign trail.”
The OPM did not respond to questions from Fox News Digital about its DEIA initiative.