U.S. Department of Commerce Looks to Accelerate Equitable Services for Workforce and Underserved Communities

The U.S. Department of Commerce convened the first Congress of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) Councils to accelerate a shared mission to deliver equitable services to underserved communities and create a culture where employees can succeed and thrive.

The inaugural meeting of the Councils led by Commerce Deputy Secretary Don Graves and Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade Diane Farrell, co-chairs of the DOC Equity (DEIA) Council, demonstrates the Department’s commitment at the highest level.  Established in November 2021, the DOC Equity (DEIA) Council provides cross-bureau coordination, policy development, and administrative support for initiatives that: institutionalize equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility across the Department’s programs and operations; support bureaus in creating a positive internal culture and raise program officials’ consciousness of systemic barriers.

“Commerce is vast with diverse missions, which can result in silos and duplication. However, I believe that we have a shared nexus and tremendous, unlocked potential. We have a collective mandate to forge data-driven, inclusive, and equitable economic growth for all Americans,” said Deputy Secretary Graves. “That’s why today is so exciting. This Congress is an opportunity for us to build our DEIA community of practice and mature our programs. We are all one civil service who will succeed and thrive in an inclusive work environment.”

The Congress unified 14 Councils in the Department of Commerce committing to work together to explore ways to form a rich space of connection and collaboration.  They agreed to share information and best practices, develop competency, and work in concert to sponsor pilot projects.  The goal is to maximize productivity, spur innovation and leverage the various talent pools of the nation’s population.

“The Commerce Department is united in providing information and services that protect people, power business and prosper our communities,” said Deputy Under Secretary Farrell. “This important body will guide us in creating DEIA workflows and infrastructure that our clients and workforce need and expect from their Commerce Department.” Infrastructure is one of the four Workstreams of the DOC Equity (DEIA) Council along with: Internal DOC Workforce (DEIA), External Service Delivery (Equity), and Measurable Progress.

The Department will continue to build and grow these DEIA connections and infrastructure across the enterprise and with Underserved Communities. Next steps are to: 1) continue the communication across the bureaus, possibly through making this convening regularly (quarterly, semiannually, annually) 2) continue to share and leverage leading practices relating to DEIA and 3) learn how the Departmental Equity (DEIA) Council can support bureau-level councils, groups, and associations. The Congress will also serve as a model for future convenings, e.g., the Department is currently planning an Employee Resource Group Summit.

The Department of Commerce supports DEIA at all stages of the employee life cycle.  The Department is committed to ensuring its work results in broadly shared benefits for employees and leaders as well as customers and stakeholders. By amplifying and sustaining efforts to build a diverse, world-class workforce and an equitable, inclusive, accessible, and safe workplace, the Department of Commerce will continue to be a leading employer of choice.  For more information visit www.commerce.gov/equity

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