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In an industry like commercial cleaning where hiring and especially retention are constant issues, it's important to make sure prospective employees are ensured fair compensation, have reasonable workloads and given access employment programs in underserved communities. 

Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published its Equity Action Plan in response to the Biden-Harris administration’s Executive Order 13985 on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities, issued in 2021. The order promotes a whole-of-government equity agenda that addresses systemic barriers to opportunities and benefits offered by the federal government.

The plan summarizes the department’s efforts to identify barriers to more equitable access to programs and services for underserved, marginalized and excluded communities and outlines the next steps for expanding access to those communities. It also serves as a roadmap to help those communities better understand the department’s vision for advancing equity so that they can provide input and hold the department accountable for meaningful change.

“The Biden-Harris administration’s coordinated effort to ensure marginalized, underserved and excluded communities have access to the benefits and services offered by federal programs has never been more important,” says U.S. secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “By making equity for historically underserved communities a priority, the Department of Labor will provide workers with greater opportunities to share the benefits as our nation’s economy continues its historic rebound.”

To advance equity, the Equity Action Plan focuses on five high-impact areas that include the following:

  • Enforcement of wage and hour laws.
  • Administration and improvement of the federal-state Unemployment Insurance system.
  • Broadening of access to department programs, services and information for workers with limited English proficiency.
  • Expansion of sector-based training and employment strategies.
  • Diversification of the federal workforce by building new pathways into government apprenticeships.

The plan also highlights the progress the department has made in its efforts to reach marginalized and underserved populations since 2021. These improvements include:

  • Broadening the equity impact of department grants.
  • Centering vulnerable and underserved communities in the rulemaking process.
  • Building stronger partnerships with community-based organizations.
  • Improving equity data collection and analysis.

The department’s current and future efforts around equity help ensure that all working people, job seekers and retirees have the economic security, opportunity and voice they need to thrive in our society.

For management tips on how to overcome staffing struggles and improve employee retention, check out this recent feature from Contracting Profits.