WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2022 – Today, in support of Executive Order 14035, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility, (DEIA) in the Federal Workforce (EO 14035), Agriculture Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh unveiled USDA’s DEIA Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2022 – 2026 (PDF, 1.2 MB). This plan outlines actions USDA will take to help ensure equitable experiences and service to the American people and USDA’s global constituents and partners.
The Biden-Harris Administration has made Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) a key priority, and at USDA we are committed to advancing and integrating equity in all we do. We have launched the USDA Equity Commission and are making strides in implementing our Equity Action Plans (PDF, 500 KB). At USDA, we also recognize the role of a healthy and inclusive organizational culture and the need to build an organization that reflects the diversity of the communities USDA serves. USDA is looking inward to understand what it will take to build an organization that centers our employees, our values, and our dedication to addressing persistent challenges and barriers towards bringing the best talent to USDA, retaining and investing in our workforce, and creating a culture where everyone feels welcomed.
“Having a diverse team and an inclusive culture is not only the smart thing to do, but the right thing to do as we seek to serve an increasingly diverse country and help ensure America’s competitiveness across the globe,” said Secretary Vilsack. “The DEIA Strategic Plan ensures a strong commitment to address both the challenges and opportunities for all employees to support and nurture a workplace culture that defines its success through inclusion and fairness.”
The USDA plan, in strong alignment with the Equity Action Plans, serves as a roadmap towards policy development and equitable service delivery.
It outlines the priorities, goals, and commitment to integrating diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility throughout the Department. Following this roadmap, USDA will invest in and advance a diverse, inclusive culture that champions dignity and respect where employees feel welcome and motivated.
To develop the USDA-DEIA Strategic Plan, USDA assessed and identified key challenges and opportunities across the workforce, listened to employees over the past year, engaged with Employee Resource Groups and received stakeholder feedback. The plan outlines goals to bring resolve to these critical needs. These goals bring to life USDA Core Values which are: Respect and Dignity, Equity and Inclusion, Trust and Integrity, Service and Results, and Science Leadership.
At the core of USDA’s DEIA Strategic Plan are six focus areas for the next five years:
- Build a culture that drives trust, belonging, transparency, accountability, and employee empathy.
- Achieve a workforce representative of Americans that inspires development of innovative ideas and best practices.
- Foster a workplace environment that is physically, mentally, and emotionally safe.
- Establish leadership and governance structures to support long-term and sustainable DEIA efforts.
- Promote empowerment, responsibility, and accountability for DEIA through developing the workforce.
- Demonstrate a commitment to a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible USDA through accountability, data collection, analysis, and effective policymaking.
Secretary Vilsack has directed all USDA leaders to prioritize the USDA-DEIA plan in their foundational efforts. As USDA makes advancements in these areas, it will be positioned for significant, long-term, sustainable progress towards a highly motivated and thriving workforce.