Reducing Bias in the Workforce

The Department of the Interior runs ten bureaus, each with its own unique service and mission. Some of the reports from these bureaus on implicit individual practices include extensive training that engages the total workforce: senior executive members, managers and supervisors, and workforce employees. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has begun adopting practices from other STEM agencies and are initiating the Implicit Association Test (IAT) for managers and supervisors. Each year the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) conducts training in EEO and diversity and inclusion areas. The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) has annual workforce training, and sponsors events to promote cross-cultural and cross-gender awareness. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) also champions yearly trainings on diversity, generational differences and more.

In the area of implicit institutional bias, USGS has an active Diversity Council that implements trainings for all employees on diversity and inclusion (D&I), and has had many successes, some which include: ongoing D&I Toolbox Project; and Women in Science Dialogue conferences. OSMRE has their Minority Higher Education Program (MHEP) that has created partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic Serving Institutions. FWS have developed a FY 2015-2019 D&I Implementation Plan (DIIP), is working with non-traditional partners, and is supporting Minority Institutions of Higher Education. USGS and FWS reported that their explicit practices are aimed at enhancing EEO, and D&I trainings in a strategically focused manner. FWS utilizes workplace employee surveys to address shortcomings, and determines where improvements are needed.

The USGS, BOR, and FWS state that they have not taken steps to directly impact bias for Federally funded Institutions of Higher Education. However, they do provide examples of how they coordinate best practices with their funded partners, and are working on some D&I initiatives.

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