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President signs sweeping federal workforce executive order

President Joe Biden

President Joe Biden signed an executive order Friday intended to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in the federal workforce.

“Even with decades of progress building a federal workforce that looks like America, the enduring legacies of employment discrimination, systemic racism, and gender inequality are still felt today,” the order states.

“Too many underserved communities remain under-represented in the federal workforce, especially in positions of leadership.”

The executive order:

  • Establishes a government initiative to advance diversity, equity inclusion and accessibility in all parts of the federal workforce.
  • Charges all agencies with assessing the current state of these factors and with developing strategic plans to eliminate any barriers faced by underserved employees.
  • Expands diversity and related training throughout the federal workforce.
  • Addresses workplace harassment, including sexual harassment.
  • Reduces the federal government’s reliance on unpaid internships, which, the order says, creates barriers for low-income students and first-generation professionals.
  • Advances pay equity to ensure all public servants are fairly compensated.
  • Advances equity for individuals with disabilities and for LGBTQ+ public workers.
  • Builds a more diverse pipeline into public services through new recruitment partnerships.
  • Expands federal employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals.
  • Advances equity in professional development.
  • Improves the collection of demographic data on the federal workforce.