Menendez Introduces Bill to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce
Federal Jobs Act would require coordinated initiative across all agencies to ensure federal workforce represents the diversity of the nation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the highest-ranking Latino in Congress today introduced the Federal Jobs Act that would require the development and implementation of a government-wide initiative to promote, expand, and retain diverse talent across the federal workforce. The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.-20) introduced a similar bill in the House of Representatives.
“Diversity and workplace inclusion is much more than a vision statement –especially when it comes to federal agencies,” said Sen. Menendez. “Our Federal Jobs Act strives to make a government by the people and for the people, look more like the people it represents. Increasing diversity in the workplace also creates a culture of inclusion that is reflected in the policies and programs advanced by the federal agencies, giving visibility and a voice to communities that are often left behind.”
The Federal Jobs Act follows in the spirit of President Obama’s 2011 Executive Order by requiring Federal agencies to identify and remove barriers to equal employment opportunity and develop practices to improve the effectiveness of an agency’s efforts to recruit, hire, promote, retain, develop, and train a diverse and inclusive workforce. The legislation also requires agencies to publicly report and update its demographic workforce data and progress. This bill also provides a pathway of access to capital for economically and socially disadvantaged businesses by requiring agencies and contractors to report their contracting of minority owned businesses.
The Federal Jobs Act:
- Requires the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the President’s Management Council, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to create and implement an Executive Branch Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Initiative and Strategic Plan with a critical focus on workforce diversity, workplace inclusion, agency accountability & leadership, and strategies to identify & remove barriers to equal employment at each agency.
- Requires agencies to develop and update tailored D&I plans to maintain a diverse workforce by reporting disaggregated demographic data relating to the workforce, professional development program participation, outreach efforts, and overall strategic plan updates. These public reports will be made available to both OPM and Congress.
- Requires prime federal contractors to submit to their contracted agency an annual report that includes a detailed dollar amount spent on subcontractors that are economically and socially disadvantaged businesses.
- Requires to the extent practicable that the Legislative and Judicial Branches of the government also develop and implement their own strategic diversity and inclusion plans.
- Requires all agencies to submit an annual comprehensive report on the activities of 1) economically and socially disadvantaged businesses, 2) minority-led small nongovernmental organizations, and 3) civil society organizations; in procuring bids, obtaining contracts and grants, opportunities to provide sub-contracting services, and the impact of any restrictions pertaining to the foreign exemption in Federal contracting under Part 19 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation.
Last month, Sen. Menendez, a longtime advocate for greater representation of minorities across every industry and a leading voice in the Senate for diversity and inclusion, requested unanimous consent for the Senate to adopt his S. 360, the Improving Corporate Governance through Diversity Act of 2019, to promote greater transparency and diversity in America’s corporate boards.
The text of the bill can be downloaded here.