On his first day in office, President Biden signed Executive Order 13985 on “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.” In doing so, the President called for a total transformation of the government into an entity that centers the concerns of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and underserved communities. 

Vice President Kamala Harris meets with civil rights leaders at the White House.
Vice President Kamala Harris meets with civil rights leaders at the White House.

At the Department of Energy (DOE), this meant embarking on a range of efforts focused on identifying barriers for underserved communities to access DOE programs, benefits, services, or procurement opportunities, all areas that further the Biden Administration’s whole-of-Government approach to advance equity. 

Across the complex we engaged in a comprehensive evaluation of the whole of our activities, including deep assessments in Procurement, Financial Assistance, Research and Development (R&D), Demonstration and Deployment, and Stakeholder Engagement. These five subject areas were led by senior leaders from across the Department and supported by over 150 personnel. 

In April 2022, after over 10 months’ worth of planning, the Department published its first-ever plan to advance equity and diversity at the agency to the White House. 

In September 2022, DOE built on the work established in the Equity Action Plan by releasing its first-ever Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Strategic Plan. This plan outlines Departmental actions to sustain an inclusive and accessible work environment by strengthening recruitment, retention and promotion practices, while removing inequitable barriers to advancement and development opportunities. 

The bottom line: we can no longer think of equity, justice, and fairness as only ideals. Instead, they must be guiding principles we are held accountable for every day that turn into meaningful actions. Through these commitments at the Department – and across the entire federal government – we can begin the work to undo the injustices faced by our country’s BIPOC citizens and underserved communities. 

Please explore below for more on the Department of Energy’s Equity and Inclusion work, as well as information on government-wide initiatives: