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Bullet policy · Sep 27, 2021

Interagency Report Outlines Best Practices for Diversity, Inclusion in STEM

The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), which coordinates science and technology policy across the federal research and development agencies, has released a new report describing best practices for strengthening diversity and inclusion in the federal STEM workforce.

The report, Best Practices for Diversity & Inclusion in STEM Education & Research: A guide by & for Federal Agencies, was developed by the NSTC’s Interagency Working Group on Inclusion in STEM, which is co-chaired by representatives from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Science Foundation, and the Departments of Health and Human Services and Interior. According to the report, the federal STEM workforce is about 16 percent of the total federal workforce and “while women and individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups comprise 43[percent] and 38[percent] of the total federal workforce, respectively; they only comprise 29[percent] and 10[percent] of the federal STEM workforce.”

The report offers several recommendations for federal agencies to implement, including developing a “pathways approach to STEM academic and career programs at each agency that allows for flexibility with multiple entry points and enables participants to build on academic achievement and research expertise at different levels and life stages.” It calls for agencies to expand recruitment at minority-serving institutions; provide opportunities for leadership training and skills development that addresses barriers impacting groups underrepresented in STEM; provide unconscious bias training for existing managers; develop more flexible hiring and pay authorities particularly for entry-level positions; and expand work/life balance efforts.

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