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Summary of Equity Progress and Early Accomplishments

OPM has continued work to advance equity and remove any barriers for underserved communities in its efforts to make the Federal government a model employer, rebuild the workforce, and elevate OPM as an institution to better serve the American people. Included below is a summary of OPM’s equity progress and achievements between January 2022 to August 2023.

2022 Equity Action Plan Update (pursuant to EO 13985)

  • Expanded Agency Access to and Use of Post-Audit Applicant Flow Data (AFD)
    • OPM launched a new reporting capability (Power BI), which includes reporting capabilities and dashboards to support Federal agencies. The use of Power BI expands beyond improved access to AFD and includes broad access to talent acquisition data for agencies and the public, as well as other OPM data products. OPM has established connectivity between most agencies and OPM’s Power BI environment. The primary impediment remains building connections between OPM and agencies that operate in the Azure Government Cloud (Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Justice (DOJ), and some elements of Treasury).
    • OPM is currently developing initial guidance for agencies and talent acquisition systems for how AFD should be structured and made available to different roles in agencies, including hiring managers. The guidance aims to establish clear government-wide standards on AFD data structure, access, and use. When agencies adhere to these standards, individuals involved in agency hiring processes will have expanded access to AFD while ensuring appropriate guidelines for responsible use are followed. These standards will also promote consistency between the different talent acquisition systems, further supporting the responsible use of AFD across the government.
  • Build a New Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program Decision Support Tool
    • In 2022, OPM conducted six focus groups of Federal employees and completed a report on our findings. The findings helped us to identify key features and functionality that Federal employees desire in a Decision Support Tool and were shared to inform the user-research for the Decision Support Tool for Postal employees. In addition, OPM finalized a customer experience web survey and published the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) notice to implement the web surveys. OPM also drafted questions we plan to incorporate into the 2023 Federal Employee Benefits Survey to assess employee views on the current plan comparison tool.
    • Additionally, OPM issued a Request for Proposals with Decision Support Tool requirements for the Postal Service Health Benefits Program.
  • Provide tools to Benefits Officers Across Government to Advance Financial Security
    • OPM’s Retirement Services is continuing to drive initiatives that seek to improve retirement readiness and financial literacy for members of underserved communities within the Federal government. Our effort is targeted at examining disparities in financial security outcomes across the Federal government. OPM has collected data on existing financial literacy programs from relevant agencies across government and has conducted a rigorous literature review that focuses on summarizing evaluations of employer-based retirement and readiness for financial security. OPM is using this information to develop a financial literacy curriculum.

Environmental Justice Scorecard (pursuant to Section 223 of EO 14008)

  • EO 14008 required OPM to submit a Climate Action Plan detailing our actions to support efforts to combat climate change. Since submitting this plan, OPM has helped to raise the minimum wage for Federal employees to $15 per hour, which has led to a raise for approximately 70,000 Federal employees, including wildland firefighters who are battling the effects of climate change. OPM has also worked to expand availability of effective training to expand government’s awareness and competencies related to climate adaption and resilience. OPM conducted a government-wide study on expanding availability of effective training related to climate adaptation and resilience and is continuing to explore the evidence that has been collected.

Additional Efforts to Advance Equity

  • Healthcare and Insurance
    • Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) Call Letter: On March 1, 2023, OPM issued an annual Call Letter for 2024 FEHBP plans that serve 8.2 million Federal employees, annuitants, and their family members. Priorities for the coming year include requiring health plans to offer expanded fertility benefits, including artificial insemination and coverage of 3 cycles of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) related drugs annually; encouraging closer coordination with Medicare Part D employer group waiver plans for annuitants with FEHB and Medicare; and leveraging reductions in cost sharing resulting from the Inflation Reduction Act.
    • 2023 Employee Wellness Guidance and Ensuring Access to Mental Health Services: In May 2023, OPM issued Employee Wellness Guidance that is designed to foster the mental, emotional, and physical prosperity of Federal employees through workplace wellness tools and resources which can optimize both employee and organizational success. By reframing Employee Assistance Programs as wellness programs, OPM is striving to de-stigmatize the use of mental health services. We also have continued efforts to achieve mental health parity through access to mental health services offered by FEHB Carriers, by working with Carriers to ensure mental health services are reimbursed similarly to physical health services.
    • Carrier Letter on Contraception: In August 2022, OPM issued a Carrier Letter on Contraception reminding Carriers of their responsibilities to offer contraceptive services with no enrollee cost-sharing and updating FEHB guidance to be consistent with guidance from the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Treasury, and Labor on coverage of certain contraceptive services and products, including emergency contraceptives. In particular, the guidance required FEHB Carriers to implement “exceptions processes” that enable enrollees to petition for coverage of alternate forms of contraception than those listed in the plan brochure when warranted using expeditious and timely exception processes. In support of Executive Order “Strengthening Access to Affordable, High-Quality Contraception and Family Planning”, in the fourth quarter of 2023, OPM will share updated guidance on promoting access to affordable, high-quality contraception.
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce
    • DEIA National Engagement for Federal and Non-Federal Employees: OPM hosted a virtual DEIA National Engagement for Federal and Non-Federal employees. The focus of the national virtual event was to share publicly available documents as exemplars to both the private and public sectors that promote promising practices and DEIA in the workforce, as well as highlight the 2023 Gender Inclusion Guidance Document, the DEIA Annual Report, and the Government-wide Strategic Plan for DEIA in the Federal Workforce. This national virtual engagement was held on April 19, 2023.
    • Employee Resource Group (ERG) and Affinity Group Summit: OPM convened the first-ever government-wide Employee Resource Group (ERG) and Affinity Group Summit in April 2022. It was held again in May 2023. This ongoing and annual event is designed to equip Federal employees in ERGs and affinity groups to better support agency efforts to strategically advance DEIA and increase participation in the OPM Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS), an organizational climate survey that assesses how employees jointly experience the policies, practices, and procedures characteristic of their agency and its leadership.
    • DEIA Summit: In December 2022, OPM convened a three-day national event, “DEIA Summit 2022: A Whole-of-Government Approach to Disability Employment” to discuss promising practices and strategies to improve employment for people with disabilities in the Federal workforce.
    • DEIA Learning Community for all Federal Agencies: Since July 2021, OPM has led a DEIA Learning Community to support all Federal agencies with implementing promising practices, and worked with agencies as they self-assessed the strengths and challenges related to DEIA practices within their own organizations. Learning community offerings are open to all Federal employees and include webinars, newsletters, office hours, and 24-hour access to online resources, videos, and templates.
    • DEIA Annual Report: In February 2023, OPM released Government-wide DEIA: Our Progress and Path Forward to Building a Better Workforce for the American People, the inaugural annual report providing a government-wide perspective of DEIA progress.
    • Chief Diversity Officers Executive Council: In September 2022, OPM established the Chief Diversity Officers Executive Council as a coordinated effort to embed DEIA principles across the Federal government.
    • Support for Formerly Incarcerated Individuals: OPM supported formerly incarcerated individuals, justice-involved youth, and those with lived experiences by partnering with organizations to provide information sessions and existing resources on Federal application process and personnel vetting process. During Second Chance Month in April 2022, OPM posted a “Guide to Federal Employment for Second Chance Applicants.”
    • Gender Identity Guidance: OPM published Gender Identity Guidance to all agencies on Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, 2023.
    • Equitable Healthcare Coverage: Through the FEHB Program, OPM continues to emphasize the importance of equitable healthcare coverage for LGBTQI+ employees, beneficiaries and eligible dependents, including advancing comprehensive coverage of gender-affirming care and services.
  • Early Career Talent
    • Federal Internship Portal: In February 2023, OPM launched the Federal Internship Portal with a webinar featuring a panel discussion with former Federal interns from NASA, HHS, DOI, and EPA, and a live demo of the Portal. Over 1,880 individuals RSVP'd for the event and over 700 attended. The Federal Internship Portal aims to attract early career talent to join the Federal workforce. In rolling out the Portal, OPM conducted outreach to over 700 college and university counselors and academic coordinators to promote Federal internships and the intern experience program. Additionally, OPM focused outreach on minority-serving institutions and outside organizations, including 19 nonprofit organizations focused on promoting equitable access to jobs, higher education, or affinity groups. This has also been included in the OPM Gender Equity and Equality Action Strategic Plan.
    • Guidance on Promoting Internships and Other Student and Early Career Programs in the Federal Government: In January 2023, OPM issued guidance on internships and similar programs including guidance to increase the availability of paid internships, and reduce the practice of hiring interns, fellows, and apprentices who are unpaid in accordance with EO 14035.
    • Pathways Proposed Regulation: In August 2023, OPM proposed to modify the Pathways Program to better meet the Federal government’s needs for recruiting and hiring interns and recent graduates. The Pathways Program consists of three programs: Pathways Internships, Recent Graduates, and the Presidential Management Fellowship. OPM is proposing changes to improve and enhance each of these programs, consistent with Executive Order 13562, and to strengthen the Federal government’s efforts to recruit and retain early career talent.
  • Federal Recruitment Engagements
    • HBCU and FEB Recruitment Event: OPM convened an open dialogue and exchange of ideas on how Federal agencies can create or support pathways, pipelines, or curriculums to sustain Federal employment for students of HBCUs in partnership with the Atlanta Federal Executive Board (FEB) and the Atlanta University Center Consortium. The conversation included internship opportunities, best practices, challenges, and opportunities to improve recruitment for Federal jobs with the goal of gaining better insight on how Federal agencies can continue to establish, strengthen, and sustain partnerships between HBCUs and Federal agencies.
    • OPM and Department of Commerce Roundtable on Equitable Recruitment and Hiring: In January 2022, OPM and the Department of Commerce hosted a roundtable Reinventing the Federal Workforce, A Roundtable Discussion on Making Government the Model Employer. The conversation included two HBCU Presidents and leaders from a Hispanic-serving and disability advocacy organization. The conversation focused on equitable recruiting and hiring, removing application and hiring process barriers, and best practices specific for underserved communities, including people with disabilities, communities of color, and HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions.
  • Tribal
    • Development and delivery of training modules and uniform standards on Tribal Consultation: On April 17, 2023, OPM in partnership with the Department of Interior held a Tribal Consultation on the development and delivery of training modules on Tribal Consultation as called for in the President Memorandum on Uniform Standards for Tribal Consultation. OPM is working to incorporate the input from the consultation in these training modules to ensure that the Federal government is upholding its nation-to-nation obligations in every tribal consultation. Additionally, OPM played a critical role in developing the Uniform Standards for Tribal Consultation that were detailed in the presidential memorandum.
    • American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Recruitment Event: For the first time, OPM hosted the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Government Relations Council meeting to support recruitment of Native Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) talent to the Federal workforce and strengthen the agency’s relationship with Native communities. OPM covered topics such as the DEIA EO, USAJOBS, and internships. Additionally, OPM will participate at the 2023 AISES National Conference by hosting a session on USAJOBS and helping convene a principals-level roundtable.
    • A Customer Experience Approach to Understanding Tribal Nations Experiences Accessing Federal Grants on In partnership with OMB’s Federal Customer Experience team and the U.S. Digital Service (USDS), OPM used human-centered design to understand Tribal Nations’ experiences in accessing Federal grants. Established in Executive Order 14058, this cross-agency effort aims to improve customer experience and the delivery of government services to Tribal Nations.
  • Military Spouse and Veterans
    • Minimum wage Federal agency Implementation Guidance: Release of the $15 minimum wage Federal agency implementation guidance, which applies to and brings economic support to veterans and military spouses serving in Federal positions (January 2022).
    • Hiring Guidance for Certain Military Spouse: OPM issued updated hiring policy guidance (Non-Competitive Appointment for Certain Military Spouses) and enabling human resource tools to enhance military spouse access to Federal service (Fall 2022-Spring 2023).
    • Outreach to the Veteran and Military Community for Feds Hire Vets: OPM continues to facilitate ongoing outreach to the veteran and military community, including the hosting of Feds Hire Vets website, a centralized online website dedicated to informing veterans on how best to navigate the Federal hiring process and providing education for the special entry paths available to them.
  • Advancing Equity Through Key Regulations
    • Pay Equity: In May 2023, OPM released proposed regulations that would prohibit the use of salary history when setting pay for Federal jobs—an important step to help address gender and racial pay gaps.
    • Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs: On September 1, 2023, OPM published regulations pertaining to when, during the hiring process, a hiring agency can request information typically collected during a background investigation from an applicant for Federal employment. The regulations expand the positions covered by the Federal government’s “ban the box” policy, which delays inquiries into an applicant’s criminal history until a conditional offer has been made.
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