Originally published February 19, 2021.
"Yesterday I had the pleasure of announcing Dr. Karen Johnson as the first director of Washington state’s new Office of Equity. Dr. Johnson has been a Washington state employee for over a decade, working with state agencies to transform our institutions to better and more equitably serve Washingtonians."
"In her new role, Dr. Johnson will use her experience to continue helping agencies develop their own diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) plans, or enhance plans that are already in place. She will lead the Office of Equity that was created last year to develop and implement a five-year equity plan for the state.
Staffing the Office of Equity was a vital component of my equity proposal and will help state agencies identify and respond to equity gaps in order to reduce disparities.
I remain dedicated to embedding equity into all state work. To that end, today I am issuing an executive order to affirm my support for Washington state business resource groups (BRGs). Every community deserves to thrive in our state, and we are committed to ensuring universal access for employees to participate in BRGs.
The executive order directs all state agencies to support and provide resources to these BRGs. The order also directs agencies to inform all new personnel of these groups and to discuss access and work expectations to those interested in participating, as well as to provide reasonable accommodation to state employees with disabilities to participate.
Visit OFM’s website or contact your supervisor to learn more about participating in BRGs.
The Office of Financial Management will oversee the development and implementation of this order in collaboration with the Office of Equity and the BRGs themselves.
OFM State Human Resources will continue to lead and support our workforce on equity in alliance with agencies and the Office of Equity. Leadership commitment and action to embed DEI practices into your program operations and workplace culture will better serve Washington.
These are just a few steps toward a more equitable Washington, and I look forward to furthering our work to eliminating systemic and institutional barriers, ensuring equal access and opportunities for all Washingtonians.
Very truly yours,
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