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DOL's Strategic Plan - Live Q&A Session with OFCCP - Static Page

This chat about the DOL Strategic Plan was held on Monday, April 5 at 3:30 p.m. EDT with OFCCP.

3:29 Moderator: We'll begin in a few minutes. Please submit your questions at any time and they will go into the question queue.

3:30 Director Patricia Shiu: Good afternoon everyone and thank you for participating in today’s webchat to discuss OFCCP’s draft Strategic Plan. This is OFCCP Director Patricia Shiu. In 1993, Congress passed the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) aimed at building the public’s confidence in the work we do. Under GPRA, Federal agencies are required to make themselves more transparent, starting with the publication of a strategic plan. A strategic plan not only describes an agency’s mission and objectives, but outlines the strategies it will take to achieve it goals. The purpose of this session is for OFCCP to listen to your ideas and comments about our strategic plan, goals, and outcomes before they are finalized. If you are thinking, “OFCCP has never asked for my opinion about its strategic plan, goals and outcomes before.” You are correct. No prior OFCCP strategic plan has ever benefited from the level of outreach and information gathering that this plan will. Well, it’s a new day at the OFCCP, and I am ready for your feedback on our proposed goals and outcomes. But I may have a question or two to ask you as well. Let’s begin.

3:36 Comment From Guest: The strategic plan mentions using a "robust sampling model" to measure results. Can you elaborate?

3:39 Patricia: Thank you Guest, OFCCP is in the process of developing a sampling method to encompass its entire universe. The details are under development.

3:39 Comment From Guest: In an effort to be more transparent, would the OFCCP consider sharing statistical analysis they use with federal contractors? This would be so helpful so that HR professionals could monitor the company for any issues.

3:39 Patricia: Guest, thank you for your question. I will discuss this suggestion with my staff. What specific information would be helpful for HR professionals in monitoring.

3:41 Comment From Anonymous Corporate AAP M: I do not see anything in the OFCCP strategic plan related to driving consistency between the regions. Do you have any plans for this? Is it important to you that the laws are enforced consistently across the country, or is it satisfactory to have different standards, methods, and priorities in each region?

3:41 Patricia: Anonymous Corporation, thank you for your question. I agree that consistency among the regions is very important to achieving OFCCP's mission. Toward that end, OFCCP is revamping its training program, its Federal Contract Compliance Manual, and reevaluating its enforcement procedures and policies, working closely with the Solicitor's office.

3:44 Comment From Alberto: Has OFCCP outlined how contractors will be selected for receidivism?

3:44 Patricia: Alberto, Yes, thank you for your question.

3:46 Comment From Marshall Mendez: “New Approaches” – investigating individual and systemic discrimination. I believe the best use of OFCCP’s resources should be in investigating systemic discrimination rather than investigating individual issues of discrimination – leave that where it is – with EEOC.

3:46 Patricia: Thank you for your comment Marshall.

3:47 Comment From Alberto: Specifically my question deals with how contractors will be selected to be included in the sample.

3:47 Patricia: Alberto, thank you for your question. OFCCP will not deviate from its current selection process.

3:49 Comment From Griselda Gonzalez: What support will the OFCCP provide to Affirmative Action Officers to better recruit Vets, minorities and women so that it is not an extreme financial strain?

3:49 Patricia: Griseida, thanks for this question. OFCCP is currently working on updating its resource directory. This free directory includes linkages that companies can use to recruit veterans, women and minority groups. The new directory will also be searchable by geographic area and job groups. In addition, OFCCP will be partnering with VETS, Women's Bureau and Office of Disability Employment Policy to provide assistance tools to aid affirmative action officers. Do you have any other suggestions?

3:52 Comment From Titus: Goal #1 talks about preparing workers for good jobs - that can only happen thru education. There are plenty of jobs in demand - healthcare, IT, etc but the problem is a lack of trained individuals. I suggest offering specialty grants for jobs in high demand. For example, if someone is in school for nursing, they should be given a higher subsidy than someone getting a BA in Psychology or Poli-Sci. Grants should be based on what the nation's jobs demand. That would decrease the unemployment, increase average wages and help various industries be more nimble/successful at the same time.

3:52 Patricia: Dear Titus, I agree that education is key in preparing workers for good jobs. However, OFCCP does not provide grants. The Employment & Training Administration, another DOL agency, does provide grants. I will refer this recommendation to Assistant Secretary Jane Oates.

3:52 Comment From Guest: Do you foresee wholesale changes in the OFCCP processes going forward due to new leadership.

3:52 Patricia: Thank you, Guest. OFCCP has put a renewed emphasis on the entire scope of its programs. It's not a wholesale change to the processes. The efforts are designed to level the playing field so that all individuals enjoy equal opportunity in the federal contractor workplace.

3:53 Comment From Interested Person: Can you explain how OFCCP will be reporting monetary recoveries and how it differs from the prior method?

3:53 Patricia: Interested Person: OFCCP will report on the amount of back pay collected and distributed, as well as the number of jobs recovered. It will not, however, include annualized salaries for jobs that have not been filled.

3:54 Comment From Fred: Why is OFCCP taking on individual complaint investigations? What will differentiate OFCCP from EEOC in this area?

3:54 Patricia: OFCCP is concerned with providing equal opportunity for all employees and job applicants of federal contractors and subcontractors. OFCCP will apply the same discrimination standards as EEOC and seek make-whole relief for victims of discrimination.

3:57 Comment From AAP Professional: Is the G-FIVE initiative going to be a part of OFCCP's strategy going forward? When will the 2009 recipients (if there were any) going to be announced?

3:57 Patricia: Thank you, AAP Professional. We are evaluating the G-FIVE Initiative. What are your thoughts about this?

3:58 Comment From Anonymous: When do you anticipate the completion of the compliance manual?

3:58 Patricia: Thank you for your question. We are working hard on updating the FCCM and hope to have this publish soon.

4:01 Comment From Guest: Will the new Compliance Manual be made available online? If so, when?

4:01 Patricia: Guest, please see the answer above (Griseida at 3:49). We are working at updating the FCCM and hope to have this published and online as soon as possible.

4:01 Comment From Tim: Ms. Shiu, Thank You for taking the time to 'chat' with us! What is one piece of advice you would provide to Federal Contractors under this Administration?

4:01 Patricia: Tim: Be proactive by evaluating your workforce by gender, race, national origin, religion, ethnicity, disability and veteran status; examine who is being hired, promoted, and terminated; look closely at wages for similarly situated jobs; and develop a culture where equal opportunity and diversity is valued.

4:03 Comment From HVHR: In response to Fred's question - Is OFCCP just duplicating EEOC's efforts and ceating more expense by investigating individual complaints? Shouldn't EEOC be the one to refer confirmed complaints on Federal Contractor employees to OFCCP?

4:03 Patricia: Thank you for your question. OFCCP is charged with the responsibility of investigating complaints for federal contractors. This includes both systemic and individual allegations of discrimination. Not every individual files a complaint with the EEOC. When the OFCCP investigates individual complaints it does so on behalf of the EEOC therefore minimizing any duplication of efforts.

4:04 Comment From Thomas: With reference to the earlier question regarding driving consistency between regions, to the extent that inconsistencies are observed, what is the best response strategy for contractors to point out inconsistencies to the national office?

4:04 Patricia: Thanks, Thomas, for your question. We are in the process of creating a national training program and revising OFCCP's compliance manual to ensure consistency among lthe regions. Contractors may discuss their concerns about inconsistencies with the OFCCP regional directors.

4:04 Comment From Guest 2: re: comment from Fred. Do employers who are found to discriminate then have double jeopardy, with OFCCP and EEOC?

4:04 Patricia: Thank you, Guest 2. The EEOC and the OFCCP coordinate their efforts to ensure that when a complaint of discrimination is received, it is investigated by only one of the two agencies. The purpose of the coordination is to ensure an efficient use of government resources.

4:05 Comment From Pat Schaeffer-EEOIMPACT: One measure identified in the strategic plan to measure OFCCP success is the percentage of federal contractors found in compliance. What percentage rate will OFCCP target to measure success? Can you elaborate on how OFCCP will determine contractor compliance for purposes of calculating this percentage?

4:05 Patricia: Pat-EEO: Thank you for your question. The percentages are based on past performace and a new baseline will be developed to determine the percentage rate for this goal.

4:06 Comment From Alberto: What resources are under consideration to assist contractors in monitoring self-audit and self-correction?

4:06 Patricia: Hello again, Alberto. We hold numerous compliance assistance events throughout the country and will continue to hold many more. To find the district office nearest you for one-on-one compliance assistance, visit http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/contacts/ofnation2.htm

4:06 Comment From Guest 2: Your reply to Tim (4:01) cites "diversity." Is the OFCCP expanding its authority beyond "equal opportunity" since diversity is a much more expansive classification?

4:06 Patricia: Dear Guest 2, the OFCCP is not expanding its authority and is using the term 'diversity' to cover its existing jurisdiction.

4:07 Comment From Maria: Where can this directory be found?

4:07 Patricia: Maria, thank you. Currently there is a resource directory online. The updated directory will also be available online on the OFCCP Web site, www.dol.gov/ofccp/.

4:08 Comment From RJ: Will OFCCP restore the former role of an OFCCP Ombudsman to handle contractors issues and concerns?

4:09 Comment From Anonymous AAP Manger: There was a change in how financial remedies obtained by OFCCP are reported this year. It makes it look like the OFCCP is becoming less effective. (Thought it sounds like the new method is more accurate) Can you go back and restate the previous years using the same methodology? It makes it easier upon those of in the contracting community to get internal resources to combat systemic discrimination when we can show how the OFCCP is becoming more effective over time.

4:09 Patricia: That is a great suggestion. We will consider posting and sharing this information. I agree that it would prove useful.

4:10 Patricia: RJ, Thank you for the comment. Let me respond by asking you - should OFCCP bring back the ombuds program? Why or why not?

4:11 Comment From Curious: We have a number of open audits pending from a few years back. What plans are being made to closeout existing audits or will we continue to remain in limbo as more audits are being added?

4:11 Patricia: Thank you for being Curious. We are working with the various regional offices to close out the open evaluations as quickly as possible. It is not our intent to leave these open indefinitely. Please contact your regional director to inquire about the status of these so that we can finalize them.

4:12 Comment From Alberto: Is the OFCCP going to increase its review of compensation data to identify disparities?

4:12 Comment From Sue: Fot Veterans, could you provide any resources for veterans that are being released from the military?

4:12 Patricia: Sue, thank you for your question. Veterans being released from the military may obtain an extensive list of resources from the Transition Assistance Program they may participate in as they leave the military. For further information, you may also contact the Veterans Employment and Training Administration at the Department of Labor. Veterans may receive individual assistance in obtaining jobs at their local One-Stop Center. At these centers, there are specialists who work to assist veterans in obtaining employment.

4:12 Patricia: Alberto, Thank you for your question. The answer is yes.

4:14 Comment From Rachel: HR Professionals could benefit from understanding which statistical methods are being used to assess compensation discrimination. There are many guesses out there...

4:14 Patricia: Rachel, thank you for this question. We are evaluating compensation discrimination analyses now. Do you have any recommendations as to how OFCCP might evaluate compensation discrimination?

4:14 Comment From Guest: If we are a resource to employers, how can we become a part of the new resource directory?

4:14 Patricia: Guest: Great question. We are currently updating our resource directory. Any company wishing to be a part of the new directory may e-mail us at ofccp-public@dol.gov, or call us on our hotline: 1-800-397-6251

4:16 Comment From Guest: How is OFCCP going to "help workers who are in low wage jobs or out of the labor market find a path into middle class jobs"? That doesn't appear related to OFCCP's jurisdiction.

4:16 Patricia: Guest: Great question! Secretary Solis' vision of good jobs for everyone focuses on low-income workers, at-risk youth, and those workers who are trying to move into the middle class. The OFCCP is committed to ensuring that these workers are an integral part of our enforcement and regulatory efforts.

4:16 Comment From HVHR: Can you elaborate on the OFCCP selection process for recidivism?

4:16 Patricia: HVHR, thank you for your question. Those contractors found to be non-compliant will have a follow-up evaluation in the future to assess the impact of the initial evaluation, and if the compliance assistance given during the initial evaluation was effective. This will be used to determine recidivism.

4:17 Comment From Guest: Does the OFCCP's existing jurisdiction include job training?

4:17 Patricia: Thank you for your question. OFCCP's jurisdiction covers federal contractors and subcontractors and federally-assisted construction contractors and subcontractors. If those contractors operate job training programs, they are subject to OFCCP's jurisdiction. Applicants and employees of the contractor are protected under the laws enforced by OFCCP.

4:18 Comment From Tom Baez: I strongly suggest forums like these going forward, the more informed we are in the contracting community, the better we can improve the quality of our workforce throughout the country.

4:18 Patricia: This has been an excellent chat, but I’m sorry it must come to a close. I want to thank all of you for taking the time to ask questions and to share your comments and ideas. We really want to hear as many voices as we can while we develop this plan. If you have any additional comments to make on OFCCP’s strategic plan development please email strategic-plan@dol.gov, and please include “OFCCP” in the subject line of your email, so it will get to me. I encourage you to return to the http://www.dol.gov/_sec/stratplan/ site periodically as more materials will be added. Thanks again and I hope to hear from you soon.

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