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.

Advancing equity requires a commitment. To boost and further the President’s equity mandate, on February 16, 2023, President Biden signed a second Executive Order on equity that directs the federal government to continue the work to support rural communities, communities of color, Tribal communities, LGBTQI+ individuals, people with disabilities, women and girls, and communities impacted by persistent poverty. Executive Order 14091 “Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities requires agencies to: produce Equity Action Plans on an annual basis and publicly report on their progress; amplify civil rights by improving : accessibility for people with disabilities and promoting language access services to ensure that all communities can engage with agencies; bolster efforts to increase federal contracting dollars awarded to small disadvantaged businesses; and drive economic growth in rural areas. 

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 DOE complex we engaged in a comprehensive evaluation of our activities, including deep assessments in procurement and financial assistance opportunities, Justice40 Initiative data collection, merit/peer review processes, Community Benefits Plans implementation and stakeholder engagement efforts. These five subject areas were led by senior leaders from across the DOE and supported by over 100 personnel. 

In February 2024, after over 10 months’ worth of planning, the Department published its second plan to advance equity and diversity at the agency.

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


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