Diversity in Action
Framework for CDC/ATSDR
“Diversity is appreciation and respect
for differences in people.”
On January 9, 2001, Dr. Jeffrey P. Koplan, Director of CDC and
Administrator of ATSDR, convened a diversity work group composed of
representatives from various CIOs, sanctioned employee groups, and
recognized labor union.
The work group served to assist Dr. Koplan:
||To provide a framework
that will assist CDC/ATSDR to attract and retain a workforce that
mirrors the diversity of the populations that we serve.
||To aid in the
development of and to
sustain a multi-culturally
environment that values and respects diversity.
B. The Face of CDC/ATSDR
The Federal Government is changing. Like other organizations, we are
experiencing the impact of the knowledge-based society and economy,
dramatic advances in technology, increased emphasis on results, and
rising expectations of our customers. The Federal workforce is also
changing, demanding more opportunities and advancement for learning,
becoming more diverse, and expecting more flexibility and support in the
CDC and ATSDR are mission-driven agencies dedicated to improving the
health and quality of life for all people. We serve diverse populations
through the recruitment of a diverse workforce into all occupations and
at all levels of the organizations in order to reflect the populations
As of December 2000, CDC and ATSDR’s work force are significantly
below the Civilian Labor Force (CLF) national average for representation
of American Indians and Hispanics in all of the CIO’s. With Hispanics
being so severely under-represented here at CDC/ATSDR, Dr. Koplan and
the diversity work group have endorsed the Hispanic Agenda for Action
Recruitment Plan for use by the CIOs to enhance Hispanic representation
Asian/Pacific Islanders are also under-represented in many CIO’s.
CDC and ATSDR have made progress regarding the representation of women
and minorities in its workforce, however, our workforce data also
indicates that all minority populations are under-represented in most
positions at the grades 13-15 levels. There is more to do to increase
representation of individual minority groups, women and people with
Currently there is no mechanism for measuring our accomplishments in
hiring and promoting persons based on their sexual orientation and/or
religion. An employees’ sexual orientation or religion should not be a
barrier to equal opportunity.
Chart Data 12/2000 - Workforce Information Zone (WIZ) HRMO
In calendar year 2000, CDC/ATSDR hired a total of 1020 employees
while losing 505 for a net gain of 515 employees. There were
significant increases overall in the representation of Asian/Pacific
Islanders, Hispanics, American Indians, and Alaska Natives, resulting
in a gain of 56 Asian/ Pacific Islanders, 30 Hispanics, and three
American Indians. Traditionally, these groups have been severely
under-represented at CDC/ATSDR. Although, there were significant gains
with these groups, the overall percentages of each group remained
unchanged due to the growth of the overall CDC and ATSDR workforce.
Race / Ethnicity Distribution at CDC/ATSDR, December, 2000,
According to CDC, HRMO, Workforce Information Zone (WIZ).
American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) 0.5% CDC, 2.1% CLF
Asian/Pacific Islander 4.9% CDC, 4.5% CLF
Hispanic/Latino 2.8% CDC, 6.4% CLF
African American/Black 23% CDC, 16.6% CLF
White 69.3% CDC, 60.4% CLF
II. Workplace Environment
Both CDC and ATSDR have adopted core values that are designed to
promote and sustain an environment that respects diversity; maximizes
every employee’s potential; and creates a workplace that is free of
discrimination. CDC and ATSDR core values are: Accountability, Respect
and Integrity. The core values explicitly state “We are committed to
achieving a diverse workforce at all levels of the organization.” CDC
and ATSDR are also committed to managing diversity principles in
interaction with contacts in their external environments. Employees
continue to learn about diversity and are encouraged to be ever
conscious of modeling appropriate workplace behaviors.
By increasing the diversity of their workforce, the areas where CDC
and ATSDR expect to see benefits from their efforts include the following:
||Increase employees’ respect for diversity
|| Enhance CDC’s reputation as an employer who embraces
||Strengthen CDC’s accountability
||Enhancement of productivity
||Keeping pace with technologic change
||Expanded options for problem-solving
||Improved communication at all levels
||Maximized effectiveness of their operations
||Utilize our human resources more effectively
III. Diverse Workforce
This section highlights examples of recruitment resources and best
practices to assist CDC/CIOs and ATSDR in their efforts to achieve a
A. Recruitment Resources
||Employee referral (word-of-mouth) - An analysis of
recruitment sources conducted in 1997, revealed that 55 percent of
employees hired at CDC learned about their jobs from other
employees. A new analysis is being conducted and should be
completed by September 2001. Current recruitment literature
supports employee referral as being the most effective recruiting
source in private sector organizations and other Federal agencies.
||Internet Web Sites - In addition to posting
vacancies and advertisements in printed media, Internet web sites
have become one of the fastest growing mediums for reaching
||Resumix - This is an automated applicant database
which centralizes the storage and retrieval of job applications,
including resumes and curricula vitae. HRMO and other CIO
recruiters store solicited applications from job and career fairs,
conferences, etc. in this system. Centers can query the Resumix
applicant supply file through their servicing generalist. If a
potential applicant is identified, the Center could name request
the applicant thereby minimizing the time it would normally take
for announcing positions.
||Internship/Fellowship Programs - Generally a
temporary assignment which introduces the individual to CDC, ATSDR,
and Federal service. Several CDC Fellowship programs offered
(e.g., CDC Public Health Informatics Fellowship Program, The
Public Health Prevention Specialist Program, The Epidemic
Intelligence service Program, the Prevention Effectiveness
Fellowship Program) provide an excellent training and service
opportunity to qualified individuals. Diversity efforts are a key
component of the recruitment strategies for these programs, which
as a result, are an excellent means of hiring individuals with
unique skills, experiences and backgrounds into the CDC/ATSDR
||Recruitment Events (Job Fairs)
HRMO will continue to partner with the CIOs to ensure that
diversity planning efforts are met while also addressing the
recruitment needs of the programs. This can be accomplished
through the continued coordination of program staff and HRMO staff
to high-profile recruitment events.
||Non-competitive Appointments - Allows CDC and
ATSDR to appoint an individual without requiring open
competition from the general public.
||Establish positions at the lowest
applicable grade level for “hard-to-fill” occupations, such as
behavioral scientist, epidemiologist, computer specialists, etc.
Recruits normally stay longer.
||Utilize student programs, such as
Student Career Experience Program (SCEP), Outstanding Scholar,
Bilingual/Bicultural Program, Presidential Management Intern (PMI),
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), etc.
These appointments can serve as an assessment period for the
employer and student in considering
||Work with CDC sponsored professional
public health training programs (e.g., Education Research Centers,
Training Project Grants, Urban Research Center, and Prevention
Research centers to reach more diverse graduate populations, from
whom CDC can recruit. Give CDC talks and promote use of the CDC
high school epidemiology course (EXCITE) at high schools with high
proportions of under represented populations to increase diversity
for public health and CDC.
||Utilize the Program for Persons with
Disabilities. These are non-competitive appointments that afford
the ability to hire on the spot.
||Utilize Excepted Service Appointments
under Title 42.
||Network with minority communities
||Recruit at colleges with large
minority populations such as Tribal Colleges/Universities,
Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), etc.
||Use a variety of outreach techniques,
i.e., advertise in publications that reach targeted populations;
use of Internet web sites that are appropriate for diversity
||Coordinate recruitment at various
professional meetings with HRMO, other CIO’s and vice versa.
Strengthen communication between HRMO and the CIOs through the
sharing of information about successful diversity efforts. Enlist
the CIOs to share their success stories at CIO staff meetings, CDC
Senior staff meetings, and ADMO meetings.
||Use special pay incentives such as
recruitment, retention, and relocation bonuses.
||Utilize CDC/ATSDR Hispanic
Recruitment and Retention Plan and other groups as they become
||Who to send - The optimal arrangement is
to send representatives from HRMO that
have knowledge of the organizational component and a representative
from the component that has in depth knowledge of the position.
Additionally, representatives need to be culturally competent.
||Develop and distribute culturally and
linguistically appropriate materials to targeted audiences.
||Establish recruitment plans for each
CIO. Recruitment planning facilitates meeting staffing needs by
addressing current issues, budgetary resources, changes in
workforce, workforce competencies, and future workforce needs. These
needs are then defined in terms of positions with the qualifications
sufficient to ensure acceptable performance. Recruitment planning is
used as a tool to determine employee shortages due to expansion,
reductions, retirements and other losses.
||Private and Federal sector recruitment
||Establish an employee referral program. Word of
mouth is the most effective recruitment source. Today’s job market
is the most competitive in 30 years. The enlistment of employees to
aid in the recruiting process is a smart - if not essential -
practice. Candidates hired through referrals stay longer and
assimilate faster than those hired through other methods. An
incentive to encourage employees to make these referrals, such as
finder’s fees or some other type of award system should be
||Utilize Benefits/Family-Friendly Programs: CDC and
ATSDR offer many of these programs and they should be promoted when
recruiting or when discussing employment with applicants. They
are: Sick/Annual Leave, Life Insurance, Thrift Savings Plan,
Alternative Work Schedules, Voluntary Leave Transfer Program, Sick
Leave for Adoption, Leave for Bone Marrow/Organ Donor, Lactation
Support Program, Part-Time Employment, Telecommuting, Family Leave,
Dependent Care Support Program, Employee Assistance Program.
IV. Retention and Career
Implement Cultural Competency and Respect - Address cultural
competency activities / issues that are responsive to the needs of
diverse groups; promote cultural and linguistic awareness in areas
of health care services, public health, and social services;
disseminate information in languages other then English
(publications, internet and other media) employment of bilingual /
bicultural staff; provide funding for cultural competency
CDC and ATSDR have a Mentoring program that was initiated in 1995
and is currently a key component in the Agency's commitment to
career enhancement of all employees. It fosters
cross-organizational communications and institutional knowledge
and improves the mentored persons ability to do his/her job well.
CDC and ATSDR currently mentor students through the work-site
experience program and encourages them to pursue higher education
and employment opportunities in the Federal sector.
Addressing Barriers to Retention:
||Review Quality of Work Life
Improvement Plan - This document has been developed as a result of
all employees surveyed by HHS to gather a more in-depth perspective
of employee satisfaction with the quality of work life
initiatives. The data collected is used to develop new and
improved initiatives (e.g. childe and elder care, prenatal
planning, adoption, education, flexible workplace, alternative
work schedules, voluntary leave transfer program, online access to
agency policies, programs, job announcements, training
||Conduct Exit Interviews -
The basis of what is learned during exit interviews should
ideally be used to fix internal problems, curb turnover, and
ultimately increase the retention of a diverse employee base.
ladders - Career ladders offer an opportunity to retain
employees at the lower grade levels who possess the potential to
grow in the job and develop the necessary skills to perform at
higher grade levels.
||Diversity training -
Recommended annually for all employees.
||Diversity training for
supervisors and managers designed toward a greater understanding
and awareness of the need as well as mechanisms, and strategies to
selecting a diverse workforce.
||Job-related training and
employee recognition - The systems that reward and engage
employees are key to maintaining a diverse, high-quality
workforce. Use public awards to recognize significant
||Supervisors and employees
should establish positive relationships. Examples of means to
achieving this goal include: regular meetings to discuss
organizational vision, mission, and goals; supervisors providing
regular feedback on work performance; supporting quality of work
life (QWL) initiatives that advance the interests of a diverse
work force, such as alternative work schedules, family-friendly
leave policies, Employee Assistance program, benefits, etc.
||Employees should be given the
opportunity to make work-related decisions.
||Supervisors should provide
employees the support to improve skills. Examples of means
to achieving this goal include: joint development of Individual
Development Plan (IDP) that identifies individual goals for
employees growth in the context of the organizational mission. The
plan should include activities to develop competencies needed to
meet IDP goals; supporting employee attendance at seminars,
conferences, and other training opportunities; supporting requests
for job-sharing or cross-training, where appropriate.
||Supervisors should show support
for diversity, such as supporting employee attendance at
agency-sponsored diversity activities and participation in
employee networking groups, such as ALECA, BIG, GLOBE,
Asian-Pacific-American Task Force, American Indian/Alaska Native
||Supervisors should reward
employees for applying skills to get the results the employer
desires. Examples of means to achieve this goal include:
Establishment of an annual, formal employee award and recognition
program at the organizational or CIO level; utilization of
existing means of awards, both monetary-such as on-the-spot cash
awards-and non-monetary -such as time-off awards and certificates
||Supervisors should be
encouraged to use Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to reduce
complaints and grievances.
V. Setting Goals and Tracking
This section highlights examples of setting goals and tracking
success to assist CDC/CIO’s and ATSDR in their efforts to achieve and
maintain a diverse workforce.
Each organizational component should:
||Examine its own data as compared to
civilian labor force to set recruitment and retention goals to reach
parity. (Parity means workforce representation of under represented
groups that are equivalent to the civilian labor force.)
||Set up quality of work life reviews to
assess work place environment.
||Review and implement the Hispanic
Recruitment and Retention Plan and other diversity plans as
participate in a quarterly one-on-one with CDC Director to review
||Convene annual senior staff meeting to
discuss progress and successes.
||At a minimum, collect and report the
following key data points to the CDC Director:
||Number of current (baseline) employees by race,
ethnicity, grade, disability, and gender
||Number of outreach opportunities (i.e. recruitment
||Number of new hires by race, ethnicity, grade,
disability, and gender
||Number of promotions by race, ethnicity, grade,
disability, and gender
||Number of employees trained in diversity
||Attrition rates by race, ethnicity, grade,
disability and gender
NOTE: Nothing in this policy shall be construed as requiring
managers to make selections on the basis of race, national origin,
gender, or any other characteristic prohibited from discriminatory
consideration by the equal employment laws. Rather, it is anticipated
that a commitment to recruiting from a diverse applicant pool, valuing
diversity of background and experience, and identifying and addressing
barriers to advancement and retention will result in the desired
diversity at all levels of the workforce.
Committee participants included representatives from the following
CDC/CIOs and ATSDR employee organizations:
||National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
||Office of Minority Health (OMH)
||Office of Equal Employment Opportunity (OEEO)
||Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease
||Human Resources Management Office (HRMO)
||Office of the Director (OD)
||Office of the General Counsel (OGC)
||National Center for Chronic Disease
Prevention & Health Promotion (NCCDPHP)
||American Federation of Government
||American Indian/Alaska Native Coalition
||Asian-Pacific-American Task Force
||Association of Latino Employees of CDC/ATSDR
||Blacks in Government (BIG)
||Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Employees
||Hispanic Agenda for Action Recruitment Plan