VA Takes Action to Become Federal Model for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access for Veterans and Employees

US Department of Veterans Affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of Veterans Affairs has made inclusion, diversity, equity and access part of its cultural transformation action plan.

An 18-member I-DEA task force, created April 1, 2021, developed 20 recommendations and 68 sub-recommendations for the department to consider during the next four years to ensure all VA employees, Veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors have equitable treatment and experiences when interacting with VA.

“This action plan reflects the Department of Veterans Affairs is working to ensure our customers and employees have equal access to all VA offerings and are treated with respect and dignity when interacting with the department,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “We recognize this work requires a culture shift and will not happen overnight, but the Biden-Harris administration and I will see this through to completion on behalf of the Veterans we serve and the diverse workforce that carries out our mission.”

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The 20 recommendations address potential gaps to include:

  • Collecting and disaggregating race, ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation demographic information about VA employees and Veterans we serve.
  • Developing a workforce plan to integrate I-DEA into hiring, position management, talent development and executive coaching to address potential areas of need.
  • Revamping VA’s communications efforts to better reach underserved communities such as those who live in rural or remote areas, outlying communities or Veterans with limited English proficiency.

The I-DEA action plan also establishes an I-DEA sub-council tasked with facilitating policy development, adoption and implementation of the recommendations outlined in the plan and to ensure enterprise policy decisions are consistent with the secretary’s strategic goals.

The sub-council is chaired by Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration/Operations Security and Preparedness Gina Grosso and Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Resolution, Management, Diversity and Inclusion Harvey Johnson.

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President Joseph Biden issued Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, Jan. 20, 2021 and Executive Order 14035 on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce, June 25, 2021.

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