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DEI office ready to connect with community

Steve Ober, installation Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Office chief, speaks to senior leaders at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Feb. 23. The new DEI office at Hanscom will focus on all aspects of diversity, equity and inclusion on the installation in accordance with the president’s executive order on advancing racial equity and the acting secretary of the Air Force’s directed racial disparity review. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Maki)

Steve Ober, installation Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Office chief, speaks to senior leaders at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Feb. 23. The DEI office is now able to offer unconscious bias training to base leaders and division chiefs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Maki)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion office here has entered the next phase of progress of identifying and analyzing potential barriers in the Hanscom workforce.

The DEI team is continuing to evaluate data from the Air Force Materiel Command diversity survey, developing tangible means to push Hanscom forward.

“We’ve been taking a hard look at our data and working to determine the right way ahead for Hanscom,” said Steve Ober, installation DEI chief.

While the survey showed that Hanscom was on the right track with a majority satisfaction rate, Ober said there is still room for improvement.

“If there are any perceived biases or barriers here, we need to tackle them,” he said.

Working closely with the Equal Opportunity and Civilian Personnel offices here, the DEI cell is taking more in-depth looks at personnel data tables, and increasing opportunities for the installation.

Ober said the cell is nearly at full capacity, including four Member and Employee Resource Group leads for Black, Hispanic, Asian, and/or women affinity groups. There are still opportunities available for Native American and Disability MERG leads, as well as a DEI resource advocate.

The team also received formal unconscious bias training through a collaboration between AFMC and Cornell University, New York, and is now prepared to offer it to base leaders and division chiefs.

“We’re inviting teams from around the base to connect with us and find a way to get this information out, either in person or virtually, or even a hybrid of both,” said Ober. “We’re open for business.”

The presentation, which Ober refers to as the “DEI roadshow,” gives an overview of the program, the DEI cell’s mission, and demographic snapshots of the workforce.

2nd Lt. Rudra Patel, the Asian-American MERG lead here, said personnel within the cell are feeling more prepared to aid the installation.

“There are lots of learning opportunities for leaders to hear examples of potential blind spots they may have in their organizations, and it’s a great way to brainstorm how we can all make our work centers more inclusive,” he said.  

Ober said the DEI team will have an opportunity to demonstrate the significant progress made since standing up earlier this year during an inspection by AFMC officials in September.

For additional information or to schedule a DEI presentation, contact Ober at Stephen.Ober@us.af.mil.