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Objective 1.1 - Cultivate a FEMA that Prioritizes and Harnesses a Diverse Workforce

FEMA is better able to serve the needs of diverse communities when its leadership and staff reflect the communities it serves. Diversity, equity, and inclusion cannot be optional; they must be core components of how the agency conducts itself internally and executes its mission.

FEMA is committed to ensuring that its employees increasingly reflect the diversity of the nation.

The agency will continue to build a workforce that includes the many identities, races, ethnicities, backgrounds, abilities, ages, cultures, and beliefs of the people it serves. It will actively recruit individuals from underrepresented communities. The agency will also invest in professional development for all FEMA employees to foster an environment in which individuals feel safe, valued, and empowered.

While this work starts with ensuring representation, it does not end there. FEMA must make space within its workplace to invite and elevate diverse voices, and to foster mutual understanding and respect for the perspectives and experiences brought by each employee.

This requires that FEMA’s leadership and workforce demonstrate an increased commitment to integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion in delivering the agency’s mission.

woman in wheelchair with laptop talking to man with guide dog

Equity in Action

Objective 1.1 builds off FEMA’s current diversity and inclusion initiatives, including:

  • Partnering with Historically Black
    Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium of Tribal Colleges and Universities to create hiring pipelines into the field of emergency management.
  • Supporting staff-led FEMA Employee Resource Groups.
  • Implementing a workplace cultural improvement action plan.

FEMA must draw upon its staff’s diversity and range of experiences to consistently inform programming, policy, and decision-making.

Through investment in diversity and inclusion efforts — including Employee Resource Groups and multicultural training — FEMA can increase its employees’ involvement and participation in cultivating a culture of inclusion. Additionally, leaders and managers must be leveraged to promote equity practices, transparency, and accountability across the agency.


"The role and responsibility of emergency managers requires sensitivity to the needs of all disaster survivors and equitable and fair distribution of assistance to all those affected — especially those disproportionally impacted."

— Sima Merick, Director, Ohio Emergency Management Agency, and immediate past President, National Emergency Management Association