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The National Park Service has been implementing its Diversity Action Plan for several years now. We have made some progress in improving the diversity of our workforce regarding women and minorities. However, we have made limited progress in improving the representation of citizens with disabilities. America's greatest promise for the 21st century lies in our ability to harness the strength of our diversity. Clearly, our future is in our people and our ability to be inclusive of all groups in this Nation.

The foundation of our diversity philosophy must be clearly communicated to our employees and potential employees that the National Park Service is committed to providing an environment in which:

Employees are treated fairly;

Employees are recognized and rewarded based upon ability and merit for their contributions;

Employees have equal access to opportunity for growth and advancement;

Employees respect each other and are free from harassment, discrimination and intolerance;

The diversity of society is represented at all levels throughout the National Park Service;and

The management and development of employees are recognized as crucial to the success of the National Park Service.

At the beginning of the 21st century, the National Park System comprises 385 units. These areas of historical, cultural, scenic, natural and scientific importance are of such national significance as to justify special recognition and protection by various acts of the United States Congress. The National Park System represents the contributions of the grand diversity of America. Our workforce should be as diverse as the National Park System we both serve and represent.

As we move through the 21st century, there will be major changes in the demographics of this Nation's population. As a result, the visitor base, donors and the civilian labor force will also change. In order for the National Park Service to remain a viable organization for preserving and maintaining our national treasures for the use of all visitors, we must accelerate our efforts to be inclusive by having the face of America at all levels and sites. Workforce diversity is a mission-related goal, which is as important as safety, housing, and park management.

We must continue to work toward creating an environment where workforce diversity is understood, valued and embraced, where there is an absence of bias, and where the mission is achieved through collaboration and teamwork.

We must continue to demonstrate and improve proactive leadership in the management of workforce diversity through the articulation of a common vision, clear, focus on goals, active participation and achievement of results.

We must continue to assess processes and systems to identify and eliminate barriers to workforce diversity and effectively working as members of a diverse workforce. We must continue to move vigorously toward a workforce that reflect the diversity of American society at large and employs the best talents of all groups. This is good business for America and it is good business for the National Park Service.

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