President Barack Obama signed an executive order Thursday directing federal officials to design a government-wide strategy for making the federal workforce more diverse.
The three-page order directs the head of the Office of Personnel Management, a deputy director at the Office of Management and Budget, the President's Management Council and the chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to develop the strategy within 90 days. Agencies then have 120 days to work the plan into their hiring and recruiting.
An Office of Personnel Management report says that in fiscal year 2010, the federal workforce was 66.2 percent white, 17.7 percent black, 8 percent Hispanic, 5.6 percent Asian/Pacific Islander and 1.8 percent Native American. It was 56.1 percent male.
Obama is planning to unveil job creation proposals next month. Some black lawmakers and leaders have criticized him for not directly addressing unemployment among blacks.
Blacks and Hispanics have been hit hard by the recession and are suffering unemployment rates of 15.6 percent and 11.3 percent respectively, higher than the 9.1 percent national average.
Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP, said fighting job discrimination is as important for minorities as job creation.
"We are a country where it's easier for a white male with a felony record to find a job than a black man that has never committed a crime, and that in itself is a crime," Jealous said.
Reporting by The Associated Press.