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DEI office continues to identify barriers

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion office here is continuing to examine existing Hanscom policies and procedures for all aspects of diversity and inclusion since standing up March 1.

The DEI office currently has four Member and Employee Resource Group leads who can take a qualitative pulse of potential barriers for personnel who are Black, Hispanic, Asian and/or women. 

“It’s interesting to examine what the status quo is here at Hanscom and what perceptions the community has about diversity and inclusion,” said 2nd Lt. Rudra Patel, Hanscom’s Asian MERG leader.

Patel, a first-generation American of Indian descent, said he believes understanding the diverse cultures of the workforce is key to showcasing the Air Force as a viable and rewarding career.

“I want to use my perspective to shed light on issues to help identify what barriers are preventing representation,” said Patel. 

Following the release of results from an Air Force Materiel Command diversity survey, the DEI Office has been reviewing all available data to determine the right way ahead for Hanscom via the installation barrier analysis working group, a team of MERG subcommittee members who identify potential biases in individual work centers.

“We’re taking a close look at policies, procedures or practices that could potentially serve as a barrier to the recruitment and retention of individuals at Hanscom,” said Steve Ober, installation DEI chief. “The way awards and promotions are distributed through the work centers, and if those deciding panels are diverse, is a great place for us to start.”

The members of the DEI office are committed to moving the D&I needle forward through training and conversations between people. While there is work to be done, the DEI team is hopeful for progress. 

“These issues are complicated and it can be difficult to navigate the nuances of all the information,” said Patel. “Ultimately, this is about changing the way we think about diversity and inclusion, but I believe it will make us a better Air Force and a better nation.”

The DEI office is currently merging with the installation Equal Opportunity Office, and has availability for a Native American/Alaskan MERG lead.

For further information, contact Ober at Stephen.Ober@us.af.mil.