Committing to Racial Equity in Black History Month

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a webpage.

Committing to Racial Equity in Black History Month

During Black History Month, OFCCP celebrates the enormous contributions Black Americans have made in all facets of our society while recognizing that we have significant work ahead to create a future where everyone has access to economic opportunity and justice in America. President Biden has stated, “We have never fully lived up to the founding principles of this nation that all people are created equal and have the right to be treated equally throughout their lives. We know that it is long past time to confront deep racial inequities and the systemic racism that continue to plague our nation.”

As our country confronts multiple crises, including a health pandemic, a long overdue reckoning with systemic racism, and an economic recession, OFCCP has a critical role to play in building a more equitable future.  Black workers face unprecedented rates of job loss and disparities in health impacts, which has compounded longstanding structural discrimination that has historically limited access to economic opportunities in these communities. Even before the pandemic, Black workers continued to experience both overt and more subtle forms of bias in the workplace, with systemic barriers to hiring and promotions, job segregation, unequal pay, harassment, and retaliation remaining drivers of inequality.  

OFCCP is committed to tackling long-standing employment practices that create barriers to opportunity and perpetuate inequality in our social and economic systems. On day one of his Administration, President Biden issued Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, which revoked Executive Order 13950. The prior administration’s Executive Order had prohibited federal contractors and subcontractors from providing certain types of diversity training.  On January 25, 2021, OFCCP issued a notice outlining its actions in response to the revocation of Executive Order 13950.

OFCCP has a longstanding mission to protect workers, promote diversity through equal employment opportunity, and enforce the contractual promise of affirmative action applicable to federal contractors and subcontractors. OFCCP’s work to advance equal opportunity and eradicate systemic discrimination and racism is critical to effectively addressing the longstanding barriers embedded in many employment policies and practices.

For example, OFCCP recently reached a $3,500,000 conciliation agreement with Newport News Shipbuilding – a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries – on behalf of 4,428 African American applicants who were denied for machinist, electrician and other jobs. Newport News Shipbuilding agreed to employ 141 African American impacted applicants as part of that agreement. OFCCP is also working to develop recruitment partnerships between federal contractors and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) for employment and training opportunities.

Over the past half-century, OFCCP has helped define and defend equal opportunity in the American workplace.  OFCCP will continue to work tirelessly to tackle employment discrimination impacting Black workers and will partner with covered federal contractors and subcontractors to ensure their workplaces are free from discrimination. In the past year, many employers have stepped up to undertake bold efforts to address systemic racism.  As we build back a more equitable future, OFCCP urges federal contractors to seize the opportunity to lead by example by taking concrete action to promote racial equity. 

Read Executive Order 13985