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SIOP in Washington: Advocating for I-O in Federal Public Policy

Alex Alonso and Jack T. Goodman


Since July 2013, SIOP and Lewis-Burke Associates LLC have collaborated to make I-O science and research accessible to federal and congressional policy makers.  SIOP has embedded a foundational government relations infrastructure within the organization, enabling SIOP to develop an authoritative voice as a stakeholder in science policy in Washington, DC, and to promote SIOP as a vital resource for evidence-based decision making.


SIOP Engages With House Committee on Modernization of Congress

SIOP has been heavily engaged with the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, a bipartisan panel established in 2019 to make recommendations on improvement of Congress as a workplace, institution, and organization.  Several focus areas for Select Committee recommendations include recruiting and retaining a more diverse staff, professionalizing internships, overhauling the onboarding process for new members and staff, and encouraging civility and collaboration.  Several I-O psychologists have been tapped to testify during committee hearings or speak with staff on their expertise around diversity and inclusion, hiring and retention, ideologically polarized workplaces, and other topics of importance.  SIOP began engagement with the Select Committee over the summer when Derek Avery,
SIOP Diversity and Inclusion Officer, met with Democratic and Republican staff to introduce SIOP and learn about their priorities.  During the meetings, Avery and the congressional staff discussed a wide range of I-O topics related to the select committee’s previous and upcoming recommendations, such as ways to increase diversity of congressional staff, incentivize collaboration over polarization, and provide ongoing professional development for members of Congress and their staff. 

Following several additional engagements with the committee, including connecting committee staff to SIOP members with expertise relevant to committee priorities, Steven Rogelberg, president of SIOP, interviewed Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA), chairman of the Select Committee, about the committee’s mission and goals for the year.  During the interview, Chairman Kilmer discussed the committee’s agenda of improving Congress as a workplace and fostering a more collaborative, inclusive, well-organized, and diverse environment for members of Congress and staff alike.  Chairman Kilmer also discussed the important role that I-O psychologists have played and continue to play in informing the committee’s work and providing scientific background that the committee uses to craft evidence-based policy.  The interview is available on the SIOP website.

SIOP Nominates Kecia Thomas, Kristin Saboe for National Panels

SIOP submitted nominations for two I-O psychologists to serve on committees at the federal level. In response to a call from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), SIOP nominated Kecia M. Thomas, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, to join the committee creating a consensus report on “Advancing Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEM Organizations.”  Thomas had previously been selected as a member of a NASEM Committee that planned and conducted a similar workshop. 

SIOP also nominated Kristin Saboe, senior manager for Employee Listening & Talent Strategy at The Boeing Company, to join the Department of Labor (DOL) Advisory Committee on Veterans’ Employment, Training, and Employer Outreach (ACVETEO).  ACVETEO is responsible for assessing needs, reviewing current efforts, and making recommendations to improve the department’s veteran-outreach, education, and training initiatives.  SIOP continues to monitor for opportunities to nominate I-O psychologists to committees and panels at the federal level and to inform federal policymaking discussions.

Analysis: Congress Facing Obstacles to Finalizing Annual Funding Bills

Congress is working to finalize its 12 appropriations bills, which provide annual funding levels for federal agencies and programs. Near the end of fiscal year (FY) 2021 on September 30, Congress had passed a continuing resolution (CR) extending FY 2021 funding levels through December 3, aiming to provide more time for the Senate to consider its annual spending bills and negotiate between the two chambers.  The Senate bills released last month would provide the National Science Foundation with $9.487 billion, $1 billion or 11.8% above the FY 2021 level but $682 million less than the president’s budget request and $147 million below what the House version of the bill would provide.  Congress has several major obstacles to overcome before the December 3 deadline. Republicans and Democrats have not yet agreed on overall spending limits for the bills nor on the split between defense and nondefense funding. Furthermore, Republicans are opposed to several partisan funding changes or policy provisions in the Democrat-written bills. Additionally complicating negotiations is the debt limit, which Congress must also raise or suspend to prevent the federal government from defaulting on its loans on or around the December 3 deadline. As of the time of this writing (November 1), no deal has been reached to advance either process.

New Policy Newsletter

Lewis-Burke and GREAT have partnered to launch the Washington InfO, a new monthly newsletter to provide SIOP members updates on pressing federal news of interest to the I-O community, including updates on emerging workforce/workplace policies and funding opportunities. For questions regarding SIOP advocacy or to subscribe to the newsletter, please feel free to contact SIOP’s GREAT Chair Alex Alonso at alexander.alonso@shrm.org  or Jack Goodman at jack@lewis-burke.com

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