The America’s Job Exchangeteam is back from the road, having attended the SWARM Conference in San Antonio April 10-13 (as well as the AILG Conference in Phoenix on April 17 – more on AILG in a future post). We savor every opportunity to meet face-to-face with our clients, learn first-hand about employer’s recruiting and compliance challenges, and understand how AJE can better serve them as a partner. SWARM proved to be an exciting conference for all of these reasons and more.More than 350 HR professionals attended this year’s conference, a much larger audience than originally planned. No doubt the record attendance speaks to the strength of the agenda as well as the urgency employers are feeling towards OFCCP regulations and the expected updates.
The exhibitor presence was also impressive, representing best-in-class product and service providers for OFCCP consulting, technology solutions, reporting software, job boards, applicant tracking systems, and much more. Melissa Spear, OFCCP regional director for the Southwest and Rocky Mountain region, opened the festivities with an engaging welcome session that set the tone for the conference. Melissa also hosted the General Session on Day 2, placing urgency on key compliance rules and emphasizing their importance with effective case examples that attendees could easily relate to. But the event’s brightest spotlight belonged to OFCCP Director Patricia Shiu, who presented attendees with a firm call-to-arms regarding OFCCP compliance.
Director Shiu emphasized the importance of accountability, and urged employers doing business with the Federal government to take compliance very seriously, accept that their best efforts today may not be good enough, and seek improvement. She provided an overview of changes to Section 503 and VEVRAA and her expectations for them to become law soon, though she did not provide attendees with a timetable. For us, the highlight of SWARM was AJE President Rathin Sinha’s invitation to join Patricia Shiu and ILG board members for an exclusive meeting on the upcoming priorities of the OFCCP. Rathin will share his insight from the meeting in future blog posts, but shared this initial impression. “Rest assured, the OFCCP is serious about implementing compliance in large companies, and recognizes the need to educate smaller organizations and first-time contractors on the importance of compliance.” Stay tuned to the blog for more from SWARM. And of course, thank you to all of the AJE clients who stopped by the booth to say hello. It was great to see you!