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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

As Americans engage in difficult conversations about race, violence, privilege and more, one place they may receive training is the workplace.

Why it matters: Firms often ask or invite employees to attend programs that help them communicate about diversity and inclusion. With many people working from home, the skills they've picked up can also be applied in a family setting.

The big picture: "Unconscious bias trainings have been happening over the past couple decades, but ramping up in the last decade," says Rashawn Ray of the Brookings Institute and the University of Maryland, who leads diversity and inclusion training for companies, police departments and the military.

  • Cherie Brown, founder and CEO of the National Coalition Building Institute, which offers diversity training, said she was on a recent Zoom call with a client organization when one employee, who identified herself as white, shared that she was pulling together eight of her family members to read and discuss a book about racism.

Yes, but: Ray cautions that many companies will host these programs, but fail to take meaningful next steps. "Without a follow-up, they don't have a plan to really integrate racial equity going forward."

  • And Brown says there's an important distinction between the diversity and inclusion work embraced in the corporate sphere and "hard conversations about race and dominance and privilege. That conversation is not yet in the corporate arena."

What they're saying: There is a silver lining to the present situation, according to Ray — and an opportunity to be seized. "We are capturing a moment where people are paying attention."

  • Katina Sawyer, cofounder of workplace training company WorkrBeeing and a professor of management at George Washington University tells Axios that she's seen an uptick in interest in wellness-related initiatives since COVID-19. She sees diversity, inclusion and wellness as intrinsically linked, and brings D&I topics into the wellness programs she leads.

The bottom line: "I've noticed people are deeply reflective, much more so being at home than being at work," says Ray.

Go deeper

DOJ watchdog to probe whether officials sought to alter election results

Former President Donald Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump exit Air Force One in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Jan. 20. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

The Justice Department's inspector general will investigate whether any current or former DOJ officials "engaged in an improper attempt to have DOJ seek to alter the outcome" of the 2020 election, the agency announced Monday.

Driving the news: The investigation comes in the wake of a New York Times report that alleged that Jeffrey Clark, the head of DOJ's civil division, had plotted with President Trump to oust acting Attorney General Jeffery Rosen in a scheme to overturn the election results in Georgia.

1 hour ago - Podcasts

Google's chief health officer Karen DeSalvo on vaccinating America

Google on Monday became the latest Big Tech company to get involved with COVID-19 vaccinations. Not just by doing things like incorporating vaccination sites into its maps, but by helping to turn some of its offices and parking lots into vaccination sites.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into what Google is doing, and why now, with Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Google's chief health officer who previously worked at HHS and as health commissioner for New Orleans.

Biden signs order overturning Trump's transgender military ban

Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

President Biden signed an executive order on Monday overturning the Trump administration's ban on transgender Americans serving in the military.

Why it matters: The ban, which allowed the military to bar openly transgender recruits and discharge people for not living as their sex assigned at birth, affected up to 15,000 service members, according to tallies from the National Center for Transgender Equality and Transgender American Veterans Association.

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