WASHINGTON, USA – US secretary Gina Raimondo and deputy secretary Don Graves, along with Diane Farrell, acting deputy undersecretary of the iInternational Trade Administration (ITA), held the Department’s first Equity Town Hall on January 14. As a top priority of the Biden-Harris administration since day one, equity encompasses everything we do at the Commerce Department.
“America’s diversity is a competitive advantage – but only if we give everyone an opportunity to fulfill their potential and fully participate. That means women, people of color, and people who live in rural areas, on tribal lands, and in underserved communities,” said secretary Raimondo.
Secretary Raimondo discussed the Department’s strategic plan for the next four years and how equity will be at the heart of our priorities.
Those priorities include using new and existing programs to drive equitable, place-based growth through the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Build Back Better Regional Challenge and transform communities throughout the country. Making employer-driven investments in our workforce through the Good Jobs Challenge so that all Americans have a path into a high-quality career.
The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), now a permanent bureau thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will foster the growth of women- and minority-owned businesses and support small business owners in underserved communities. NTIA will help close the digital divide by deploying nearly $50 billion to universal, high-speed broadband so that everyone can participate in the modern economy.
NIST will help businesses create more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible environments for all workers. NOAA will incorporate takeaways to improve their climate services in those communities following a series of Climate and Equity roundtables with underserved communities. And the Census Bureau, EDA, ITA, and USPTO are working tirelessly to advance their equity initiatives.
Prioritizing equity will also include institutionalizing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the federal workforce. Combatting discrimination by race, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation. And advancing equity through minority-serving institutions.
Deputy secretary Graves also emphasized the Department’s commitment to helping build an economic system that works for all.
“We recognize that we have fallen short and have embraced the opportunity to build a more equitable Department. In September, we established a department-level Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Council that will drive our efforts to embed equity in our internal culture and across the programs we administer,” said deputy secretary Graves.