NASA has announced its first plan to fast-track progress toward increased diversity, equity, and inclusion within the agency.
The Equity Action Plan—in support of the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts toward increasing racial equity in the federal government—seeks to address socioeconomic barriers faced by underserved communities.
“At NASA, all of our missions depend on our steadfast commitment to equal opportunity,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in a statement Thursday. “The Equity Action plan deepens our commitment to further identify and remove the barriers that limit opportunity in underserved and underrepresented communities. This framework anchors fairness as a core component in every NASA mission to make the work we do in space and beyond more accessible to all.”
According to NASA, the plan focuses on four areas:
- Increasing integration and utilization of contractors and businesses from underserved communities and expanding equity in NASA’s procurement process
- Enhancing grants and cooperative agreements to advance opportunities, access, and representation for underserved communities
- Leveraging earth science and socioeconomic data to help mitigate environmental challenges in underserved communities
- Advancing external civil rights compliance and expanding access to limited English proficient populations within underserved communities
According to the plan, NASA spent nearly $2 billion on disadvantaged small businesses, which include HUBZone, service-disabled veteran, and women-owned businesses. The agency also plans to increase the frequency of its civil rights compliance reviews to 10 per year by 2024.
“Even as we fly to the other planets and search for signs of life elsewhere, we must commit ourselves to build a better world here on Earth, one with equal opportunities for all,” Nelson said.
For more information on the agency’s equity plan, visit NASA.gov/mission-equity.