Agencies Target Bias to Increase Diversity in STEM Recommendations

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The White House’s Interagency Policy Group released recommendations for how to increase diversity in the STEM workforce by reducing bias.

The group recommended that individuals in leadership positions should exercise their ability to reduce bias at all levels of government agencies. Officials could incorporate diversity goals into strategic plans, keep a dialogue about inclusion in the workplace, start a cycle of hiring that encourages diverse applicants, train employees on implicit and explicit bias mitigation, and create bias mitigation goals.

Within Federally funded colleges and universities, the group recommended that the Federal agencies incorporate bias mitigation strategies into their proposal-review process and grant technical assistance to institutions that use these strategies. The agencies should ensure diversity on grant-review panels, collect and analyze data about the grant process to see if there is bias in the grant-making system, and provide universities information about how to reduce bias and increase diversity.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Office of Personnel Management, and the Department of Justice could help universities increase diversity in STEM programs by serving as models for bias reduction, coordinating civil rights compliance efforts, providing guidance to mitigate bias in potential measurement tools, collaborating on bias-reduction programs, and strengthening partnerships to lessen the impact of bias and to increase access to Federal STEM employment.

The OSTP, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation will discuss the recommendations today.

“The United States leads the world in the innovation and diversity of its citizenry,” Jo Handelsman, associate director for science, and Wanda E. Ward, assistant director for broadening participation at the OSTP, said in a blog post. “The nation needs to accelerate innovation by increasing the diversity of its STEM workforce.”

Morgan Lynch
About Morgan Lynch
Morgan Lynch is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering Federal IT and K-12 Education.
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