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Gov. Northam establishes statewide plan to advance diversity, inclusion across government

The plan aims to ensure that people in positions of leadership understand systemic inequity, as well as increase diversity at all levels of government.

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has unveiled a statewide plan to advance visible diversity and inclusion across state government, with the main focus on reducing inequities.

The plan, called ONE Virginia, was announced on Friday and is described as “a strategic blueprint to institutionalize equity across state government and effectively address deeply-rooted structural and systemic barriers to access and opportunity,” Northam said in a press release. 

The ONE Virginia team also established an online toolkit for state agencies and other stakeholders to use in order to advance the goals of diversity and inclusion. 

“This roadmap will ensure our efforts are accompanied by accountability, measurable results, and sustained impact, and help make Virginia the best place to live, work, visit, and thrive," Northam's press release said. 

The next phase of the plan will kick off with an initial cohort of 10 state agencies that provide direct support to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic to accomplish the main goals of the plan.

The Department of Human Resource Management and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI), along with Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Janice Underwood, all collaborated to work on the plan, which will support in total more than 100 Virginia agencies in implementing strategies that will “provide fair and equitable services and cultivate a valued and high-performing workforce.”

The governor’s office also specified that the plan will help ensure that people in positions of leadership understand systemic inequity, as well as work to increase diversity at all levels of government, foster an inclusive and welcoming organizational culture and establish shared accountability for visible equity while promoting community engagement. 

In the coming months, the ODEI plans to seek input from state employees, external stakeholders, and community leaders to further develop the policy.

ONE Virginia will also be codified by the General Assembly through legislation supported by the Northam Administration, called House Bill 1993. The bill will require state agencies to establish and maintain comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic plans in coordination with the governor’s chief diversity officer.

For more information about the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and its work, please visit governor.virginia.gov/diversity.

   

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