Strategic planning session focuses on diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility needs

  • Published
  • By Marisa Alia-Novobilski
  • Air Force Materiel Command

The Air Force Materiel Command Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion held a strategic planning meeting at the National Museum of the United States Air Force July 21-22 to develop an action plan for the implementation of the Executive Order on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce signed by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on June 25.

The meeting focused specifically on how AFMC currently deploys the outlined requirements and what needs to occur to better promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility across the organization.

“This Executive Order provides a clear vector from our administration on what we need to do across the Federal workplace to create a better environment for all,” said Keith Tickle, AFMC Diversity, Equity and Inclusion lead. “Additionally, it specifically highlights ‘accessibility’ to accompany diversity, equity, and inclusion and is monumental in bringing disability to the forefront of opportunity. Accessibility is targeted toward all employees, but the E.O. reinforces the need to ensure our disabled employees have the tools and resources to be successful across the workplace.”

In addition to providing clear definitions for diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, the Executive Order clarifies the term “underserved community,” ensuring organizations implement programs that reach these targeted groups. Per the order, “underserved communities” refers to populations that share a particular characteristic or are part of a geographic community that has been systematically denied full opportunity to participate in aspects of economic, social, and civic life.

“As AFMC leans forward in DEIA efforts, it is important to ensure barriers to opportunity are mitigated across all demographics. We need to make sure that Federal merit system principles, to include fair and equitable treatment in all aspects of personnel management, are applied from the initial employee selection process and onward,” said Tickle.

To augment the implementation of the executive guidance across AFMC, the strategic planning meeting yielded a framework for the first-ever AFMC Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Strategic Plan. The plan will provide for the following:

  • Identification of standards of success for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility
  • Application of merit system principles in:
    • strategies to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility
    • elimination of  barriers to equity in Federal workforce functions
  • A comprehensive framework to address workplace harassment; mechanisms for Airmen to report misconduct while encouraging bystander intervention
  • Training, education, and monitoring
  • A data-driven approach to increase transparency and accountability
  • Identification of ongoing DEIA program successes for future command-wide implementation

Though the strategic plan is still in the process of being refined and finalized, the command is leaning forward in a number of DEIA areas to include training, enhanced accessibility for employees with disabilities and advancing equity for LGBTQ+ employees, said Tickle. Future efforts will focus on building and strengthening partnerships with universities aligned to underserved communities; increased internship opportunities for underserved populations; better tracking of demographic data to ensure equitable representation in senior leadership and professional development programs; and additional training opportunities for the total force.

“As a command, we continue to be in-line with all of the guidance provided to us from leadership. Driving change in diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility is an AFMC imperative; our team is working closely with our counterparts at the centers and wings to ensure success across the command,” said Tickle. “A diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible workplace results in a higher-performing organization and is key to the AFMC We Need.”

To learn more about AFMC efforts, visit https://www.afmc.af.mil/About-Us/Featured-Topics/Diversity/.