HR

OPM places all diversity training on hold, pending review

Federal agencies have been instructed to stop all planned diversity and inclusion training, until all materials are reviewed and approved by the Office of Personnel Management, according to an Oct. 2 memo issued by Dennis Dean Kirk, OPM associate director for employee services.

The review requirement applies to all training materials, including those that have already been in use by the agency.

“The executive order applies to all diversity and inclusion training programs, including programs developed prior to the issuance of this executive order, as well as new programs that may be proposed or established after September 22, 2020,” Kirk wrote.

“Coverage includes, but is not limited to, all training that is paid for with federal funds or that federal employees are required or permitted to view, listen to, or participate in while on government-paid time. Included is training that is conducted or led by government employees; training that is conducted or led by contractors or others; live training sessions conducted in person or by any electronic means, whether telephonic or video; materials posted on any federal agency’s public-facing or internal internet or intranet sites; and, written or video materials or other content that have been produced or procured with federal funds and that are available to the general public or that federal employees are required or permitted to read or view.”

The memorandum comes as guidance on a Sept. 22 executive order signed by President Donald Trump, which called for the end of federal diversity training that teaches about topics like white supremacy and inherent bias, which Trump called “un-American.”

Federal employee groups have derided the decision and emphasized the importance that diversity training has in promoting employee wellbeing.

The memo represents a far-reaching data call for many agencies, as each must submit a comprehensive submission of all of its training programs, rather than approving individual training sessions individually.

“OPM will review materials in the order that they are submitted, under the first in first out business rule and will provide analysis and feedback as quickly as possible,” Kirk wrote.

“Agencies are encouraged to review and improve agency materials before submitting them to OPM. OPM must review and approve all diversity and inclusion materials before they are utilized, but if agencies can improve their materials before submitting them, that will expedite completion of the review process.”

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