Commentary | Aug. 19, 2021

Coast Guard expanding support for affinity groups

By MyCG Staff

The Coast Guard today announced that it will expand support for its Affinity Groups (AGs). 

AGs are not-for-profit voluntary employee associations. They’re established around a shared interest that can affect professional development and workplace quality of life. Coast Guard AG members lead activities such as recruiting initiatives, mentoring events, listening sessions and training opportunities.   

Any Coast Guard employee can join any AG to learn about and support that community.  

The directive: 

  • Streamlines and standardizes the process to create an AG. 

  • Provides each group an executive champion – a flag officer, SES or senior enlisted member who can provide senior leadership support and a liaison to the Commandant. 

  • Provides a portal page for each affinity group. 

  • Allows personnel to participate in AG meetings and events during the workday with supervisor permission. 

  • Allows AGs to co-host events with the Coast Guard. 

  • Allows AGs to host events at individual units. 

  • Clarifies that AGs must align with the Coast Guard’s core values and missions. 

  • Allows Office of Diversity & Inclusion to provide travel expenses for members to attend Affinity Group conferences, subject to the availability of funds. 

 
The new benefits will help groups grow their membership and amplify each community’s voice on key issues facing the Coast Guard - while ensuring they maintain their independence. 
 
“Affinity groups are our frontline partners in developing an inclusive and diverse work environment,” said Chief Petty Officer Michael Anderson,  a program lead in the Coast Guard Office of Diversity & Inclusion. “Over the last nine months, we’ve been working with our Affinity Group, DHS and subject matters experts to develop an equitable directive that supports groups both large and small.”  
 
Members interested in joining or learning about any specific Affinity Group should visit the Office of Diversity and Inclusion webpage where the current list of AG’s that partner with the Coast Guard is posted. The list will be updated as the new directive is implemented and as new Affinity Groups partner with the Coast Guard.   
 
If you have questions about Affinity Groups or you’re interested in creating a new Affinity Group, personnel should contact the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at HQS-DG-lst-CG-127@uscg.mil

“The bottom line is the Coast Guard’s goal with the Affinity Group Instruction is to help AGs support our collective success as a well-informed service, with a well-supported workforce,” said Anderson.  

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