President Barack Obama is ordering select federal departments and agencies – which will be under President-elect Donald Trump’s authority shortly after noon Friday – to conduct mandatory diversity training every two years.
Obama’s order requires senior leaders, managers and employees who handle recruitment and hiring take the training, which is intended to reduce “unconscious bias” – stereotypes and biases people unknowingly hold, Government Executive reported Tuesday.
Obama wants the federal workforce to draw “from the rich range of diversity in our nation,” he wrote in the Jan 12. order. The federal government has spent nearly $240 million on diversity training since 2008, including $39.5 million in 2016, according to USASpending.gov.
The agencies affected are: The Department of the Interior; the U.S. Forest Service; the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works; and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. Obama ordered the national security agencies promote diversity in October.
Obama also encouraged the affected agencies to implement “performance and advancement requirements that reward and recognize senior leaders’ and supervisors’ success in fostering diverse and inclusive workplace environments,” the memo said.
The federal government has hired more veterans and disabled individuals since Obama issued a similar 2011 executive order, Government Executive reported.
Diverting the workforce at agencies overseeing natural resources could be a way to help make national parks more accessible to minority, low-income and disabled communities, according to Government Executive.
The memo also ordered affected agencies to develop ways that “all Americans can experience federal lands and waters and the benefits they provide, and that diverse populations are able to provide input to inform the management and stewardship of these important resources.”
The Trump administration could ignore Obama’s order, since presidential memoranda don’t carry the force of law, Government Executive reported.
This report, by Ethan Barton, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.