“To be honest, it’s rather difficult to fully invest in processes that have existed for some time and expect them to yield different results,” said Victor LaGroon, director of the Black Veterans Empowerment Council. He made the remarks during a congressional hearing last Thursday. “I think we’re absolutely right when we say that we need to put our foot on the gas and expect more and push further.”
Approximately 43% of VA employees are non-white and about 61% are women. But White men are in half the department’s senior career posts despite comprising just 23% of the total workforce. Black women make up 17% but hold just 6% of those same leadership roles.
Promotion of Black employees has remained low in recent years, with less than 3% of Black applicants for management positions promoted.
Earlier in 2021, VA Secretary Denis McDonough ordered a review of department practices to ensure an inclusive environment.
Last month, White House officials announced plans to nominate Donald Remy as VA deputy secretary, which would make him only the second Black man to serve in the second-highest department leadership post.
No women have ever been confirmed to the top two VA jobs.