The Department of Commerce (DOC) this week appointed its first-ever “counselor for equity,” a position that will work to “institutionalize equity across all workstreams and advise senior leadership on policy design and implementation strategies that help advance the equity agenda.”
Ines Hernandez will serve in the new role. Hernandez was most recently a counselor for an “innovation hub” at Florida International University, where she “put innovative frameworks in place to ensure the organization’s reach extended to all South Florida communities.”
The department said in her new job, Hernandez will work with the DOC Equity (DEIA) Council. That council “provides cross-bureau coordination, policy development, and administrative support for initiatives that: institutionalize equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility across the Department’s programs and operations; support bureaus in creating a positive internal culture and raise program officials’ consciousness of systemic barriers.”
Commerce stressed that it supports Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) “at all stages of the employee life cycle,” and is “committed to ensuring its work results in broadly shared benefits for employees and leaders as well as customers and stakeholders.”
It added that by building a diverse workforce and an “equitable, accessible, and safe workplace,” Commerce will “continue to be a leading employer of choice.”
The department said Hernandez has more than 20 years of experience “building cross-sector consensus that led to community and economic development solutions, new policies, and action with demonstrable results.” She also has experience “navigating intersecting issues, including financial inclusion, small business development, workforce development, affordable housing, climate policy, public health, and equity.”
“My years of experience working to bring financial inclusion and economic empowerment to culturally diverse communities will guide me as I continue to advocate for economic mobility at the national level,” she said in a statement.
The appointment was made as some House Republicans have begun to propose ideas in the new Congress aimed at eliminating “woke” positions from the federal government.
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., in January introduced the “Stop Imposing Woke Ideology Abroad Act,” which would bar the use of federal funds for the salary or expenses of the special representative for racial equity and justice at the State Department, and prohibit State from implementing its “equity action plan.”