U.S. Access Board DEIA Strategic Plan 2022
Vision statement: The Access Board will advance and embed Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) throughout its workforce.
Mission Statement: To foster a culture that exemplifies teamwork, embraces innovation, and values diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility to achieve mission excellence.
DEIA Implementation Team:
Sachin Pavithran, Executive Director
Earlene Sesker, Director of Administration
Dave Yanchulis, Director of Office of Technical and Information Services
Jeffery Sargent, Chief Financial Officer
Christopher Kuczynski, General Counsel
Sherrice Macklin, HR Specialist
The Access Board is a micro-agency that promotes equality for people with disabilities through leadership in accessible design and the development of accessibility guidelines and standards. The Access Board is structured to function as a coordinating body among federal agencies and directly represent the public, particularly people with disabilities. It has a 25-member governing board, twelve of which are representatives from most of the federal departments and thirteen of which are appointed by the President, are members of the public, and have a disability. By law, 50% of the public members are required to have a disability. But both our governing board and our staff include people with both physical and sensory disabilities.
The Access Board prides itself on its history of inclusiveness in employment. By the very nature of its mission, the Access Board is devoted to making America a more accessible and inclusive place for people with all types of disabilities. In addition, the Access Board consistently exceeds OPM and OMB’s goals for the hiring of people with disabilities for its staff.
Its board and staff reflect a cross-section of America and include African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latin Americans, as well as those of European descent. Additionally, a percentage of its staff are immigrants from other countries.
A person’s gender identity or sexual orientation have never been a factor in our hiring decisions, and at least 10% of staff openly identify as LGBTQ+ persons. LGBTQ+ persons occupy both managerial and line staff positions and are represented on our board.
In summary, the Access Board is a very small agency, and its employment initiatives and goals are limited to its 28 staff positions since the selection of Board members rests with the White House. Historically, the agency has had exceptionally low turnover, oftentimes resulting in several years when the Access Board has no vacancies. In a typical year, the Access Board may recruit for one or two positions. In these recruitment moments, the agency has an exemplary record of inclusion; it is part of who we are as an agency, and we will continue this, as we go forward.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION GOALS:
Goal 1. Culture
Ensure that leaders at all levels promote the vision for DEIA by taking actions to increase diversity and equity in the workforce and maintain an inclusive and accessible workplace.
Objective 1.1: Ensure that all employees can develop and excel in their career and be recognized and rewarded for high performance.
a. Action 1: Implement a new performance standard for supervisors and managers that focuses on employee career development and the cultivation of an inclusive, constructive work environment that is committed to Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policies and principles and is based on transparent communication, mutual trust, and respect.
b. Action 2: Develop and implement a plan to provide agency leadership with access to employee feedback and suggestions for inclusion in the workplace.
Objective 1.2: Build a result-oriented DEIA strategy based on measurable outcomes.
a. Action 1: Identify key performance indicators that measure success and identify opportunities for improvement in areas where deficiencies are found.
b. Action 2: Identify, analyze, and implement career development programs to promote greater inclusion within the Access Board.
Goal 2. Career
Recruit, hire, and develop a high-performing workforce that reflects the diversity of communities the Access Board serves by optimizing outreach.
Objective 2.1: Identify, select, and implement DEIA hiring practices that will be most effective in advancing diversity at the Access Board.
a. Action 1: Develop diverse interview panel guidance and require hiring managers to certify that it was followed for all selections.
b. Action 2: Require hiring managers to include at least one interview question to assess management candidates on their ability to foster DEIA initiatives.
c. Action 3: Ensure hiring managers certify that they have reviewed Schedule A candidates for potential selections.
d. Action 4: Identify opportunities to strengthen engagement with diverse groups, such as the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and other organizations representing people with disabilities, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HSCUs), community-based organizations, and civil rights organizations, to improve the effectiveness of Access Board recruitment strategies.
Goal 3. Communication
Develop compelling messages and opportunities for dialogue, which encourages all employees to see the importance of DEIA to their personal success and the success of the Access Board.
Objective 3.1: Provide clear, consistent, and regular messaging of the Access Board’s DEIA vision and actions being taken to achieve desired outcomes.
a. Action 1: Update internal and external webpages with messages that illustrate our commitment to DEIA in our workforce.
b. Action 2: Develop and implement a social media and marketing campaign to engage a broad and diverse talent pool and communicate key initiatives and programs.
c. Action 3: Ensure the inclusion of DEIA language when drafting and issuing internal and external agency communications and acquiring information technology (e.g., compliance with Section 508 of the rehabilitation Act, inclusive visuals and language, reasonable accommodation policies, etc.)
Goal 4. Consistency
Improve the consistency of desired outcomes by strengthening policies and procedures, utilizing technology, and enhancing training.
Objective 4.1: Create a work environment without barriers, where all employees feel welcomed, valued, respected, and engaged, and can effectively participate and bring their unique talents, skills, and perspectives.
a. Action 1: Update telework and remote work policies to better support inclusion by increasing, as appropriate, available flexibilities to meet employee needs.
b. Action 2: Expand the Anti-Harassment Policy to include guidance for reporting if an employee experiences issues while interacting with external stakeholders.
c. Action 3: Conduct an accessibility survey of Access Board offices.
d. Action 4: Enhance current assessment tools (e.g., exit surveys) to measure attrition, identify reasons for attrition, and address barriers to equal employment opportunities.
e. Action 5: Conduct pay equity analysis and generate statistical reports. Review and update pay policies based on findings and regularly monitor pay equity consistency.
f. Action 6: Train all staff in the creation of accessible electronic documents.
Objective 4.2: Establish workshops and learning sessions designed to increase cultural competencies and skills in promoting equal opportunity.
a. Action 1: Conduct annual diversity training for all staff.
b. Action 2: Train selecting officials and interviewers on ensuring consistency in the hiring process.
c. Action 3: Provide training opportunities for hiring officials regarding use of special hiring authorities for persons with disabilities and veterans.