FBI: Diversity at the FBI– Critical to Mission Success

by Savoy Staff

At the Federal Bureau of Investigation, we know that having a diverse workforce that reflects the communities we serve makes us more effective in our mission and enhances our ability to connect with diverse communities. We incorporate inclusion and a diversity of thought, experience, and background into our culture through our Core Values, a priority initiative under Director Wray, and an intentional, strategic effort to strengthen the workplace for all employees.

Through innovative programs and initiatives over the last 10 years, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) has helped reshape the diversity landscape at the FBI. Today, our overall minority representation is 27%. The FBI also has increased its percentage of minorities at every level each year for the last four years and seen a continual increase in the number of minorities and women applying to be special agents, reaching 51% of applicants in 2022. As a result, the FBI Academy is graduating our most diverse classes in history.

To achieve these goals, ODI focuses on recruitment and selection of diverse candidates, increasing the representation of women and minorities in leadership, and engaging employees in their shared responsibility to build a diverse and inclusive workforce. Under the leadership of Chief Diversity Officer Scott McMillion, the ODI staff uses research and data to demonstrate the business case for diversity equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA); provides training and cultural programming to build employees’ diversity awareness; manages key recruitment and development programs; and facilitates a network of DEIA advocates across our 56 field offices and headquarters who champion ODI initiatives.

In building support for DEIA across the Bureau, ODI launched nine Diversity Advisory Committees representing distinct groups of FBI employees: Black/African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American, Near and Middle Eastern, women, employees with disabilities, veterans, and LGBT+. Sponsored by two senior executives, each committee includes elected members who give voice to their constituency and advise FBI executives on their initiatives and experiences. Those 18 executive champions form the FBI’s Diversity Executive Council, which advises FBI leaders on DEIA issues related to recruitment, retention, and more. ODI also has a D&I coordinator in each field office to coordinate local cultural programs, share DEIA information, and work with recruiting, outreach, and public affairs staff on connecting with underserved communities.

ODI programs also help bring diverse candidates to the FBI’s leadership pipeline. The Cross-Cultural Mentoring and Sponsorship Program (CCMS) helps hundreds of employees diversify their professional network and prepare for leadership roles by intentionally pairing an executive or senior leader mentor with a mid-career mentee of a different race, ethnicity, or gender. To strengthen cultural awareness, ODI initiated a mandatory diversity-related performance objective for supervisors and delivers DEIA training to all new employees.

Diversity recruitment is another key focus for ODI. In addition to creating the Diversity Agent Recruitment program to introduce highly qualified minority and female applicants to the special agent position, ODI launched the Beacon Project to enhance engagement, trust, and recruitment efforts with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Through these newly fostered relationships, HBCU faculty, students, and alumni are more aware of the FBI mission, issues of mutual interest, and pathways to federal employment. This type of engagement will be replicated with other underrepresented groups, as with the FBI’s recent memorandum signed with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.

To help advance women in sworn officer positions, the Director recently joined New York University’s 30×30 Initiative, which seeks to have women make up 30% of new sworn officer classes by 2030. Along with more than 250 local, state, and federal policing agencies, the FBI will work to eliminate barriers in its recruitment, hiring, and development policies that keep women from beginning or promoting in their careers.

In the DEIA arena, ODI is proud of the FBI’s progress while acknowledging there is still work to be done. ODI will continue to advance DEIA on behalf of the FBI workforce and forge the cultural and policy shifts that will allow all employees to succeed.

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