APPLYING THE LESSONS OF URGE TO A FEDERAL SCIENCE AGENCY – USGS RESPONDS
The URGE curriculum facilitated interrogation of existing USGS policies, evaluation of policy application across the agency, and strategic brainstorming to align systemic changes with the goal of doing work in an inclusive way for all underrepresented groups. We identified challenges and opportunities associated with implementing anti-racist and other anti-discriminatory initiatives within the federal government. Key USGS challenges include making meaningful changes to external federal policies that affect BIPOC recruitment and retention, implementing solutions that continue through administrative transitions, and enacting accountable DEI policies that accommodate various business models across the USGS. Benefits include independently implementing change on a variety of scales, ranging from the individual (e.g., bias awareness) through project and Science Center levels (e.g., establishing norms for inclusivity and personal safety) and into USGS-wide activities (e.g., choosing hiring and retention practices that remove barriers to BIPOC and other under-represented persons). Initial and ongoing management support for URGE participation and initiatives provides critical scaffolding for actionable policy changes that will lead to inclusive, diverse, and equitable workplaces.