After the AAP

How to Properly Implement the Affirmative Action Plan  – OutSolve’s newest presentation will help managers remove the grey areas of Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) implementation.

Here at OutSolve we support contractors throughout the country in Affirmative Action Planning, OFCCP audits and all things relate to EEO/AA compliance. Our primary interest is in AAP support, meaning every day we work with data, generate reports and answer hundreds of questions related to compliance. One important lesson we have learned over the years is that while many plan requirements are clear and well documented, not all aspects of compliance are so straightforward. Affirmative action planning can be as much an art as it is a science. It is often these grey areas that require the most support so OutSolve created a presentation to help federal contractors understand the requirements surrounding training and affirmative action plan implementation. Continue reading


This is a first, in a series, of ‘Ask The Expert’ Q&A blogs where we will tap into the vast pool of industry knowledge we have here at America’s Job Exchange (AJE). This blog features our resident expert, Gary Cowan, Director of Compliance.

Q: I know you are an expert in your field, but can you give others a quick summary of why you are particularly knowledgeable in the area of OFCCP audits?

A: I worked at the US Department of Labor for over 24 years, 16 years as an investigator and 8 years in the Administration of DOL. During my time as an investigator I trained hundreds of investigators in investigative techniques and the application of the regulations. I also spent 8 years in Boston, NY and DC as a Director of Administration, supervising over 50 staff members, coordinating several national special projects and working with regional directors nationwide.

Q: How do you use your expertise to assist our customers here at AJE?

A: I have the unique experience that I have trained the auditors in investigative techniques, the application of regulations and the inner workings on how and why companies are audited. Providing that information to our customers is extremely valuable in their approach to an OFCCP audit.
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Did You Miss Our Webinar? OFCCP Audits – 5 Reasons They Fail

Due to high demand for more information into the industry trends of the topics of Human Resources, Labor Relations, Department of Labor regulations and compliance expectations, America’s Job Exchange has gone monthly with its educational webinars.

This September we chose to tackle OFCCP audits. We know they exist. We assist our customers through them weekly… but how is one organization selected over another? What takes place during these investigations? Is there any way to prepare, ahead of time, for an audit? If you have visions of a meltdown dancing in your head, knee-deep in a pile of paperwork…we can save yourself the rise in blood pressure. We teamed up with our trusted partners at Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates (PMP). They are based in New York and have been committed to providing full-service, strategic guidance on all facets of employer/employee relationships and providing guidance through the numerous laws and regulations that pertain to labor relations and human resource. Continue reading

Recruiting, Hiring, and Retaining Individuals with Disabilities and Veterans—the Real Benefits to Your Company


By: Cindy Karrow of Berkshire Associates

I am frequently asked for examples of the benefits derived by companies who hire Individuals with Disabilities (IWD) and Veterans. Often this question comes from an Affirmative Action Planning (AAP) Manager who is looking for support from staffing representatives, hiring managers, and/or executives for their company’s outreach and recruitment activities. This support may take the form of budget dollars—at job fairs or time spent searching for the best recruitment sources online. Everyone wants to know what the benefits are going to be—what is the return on this investment? This article will explore some of the benefits.

Why should you recruit IWD and Veterans? Most employers are looking for the best talent to make their organizations successful. This usually means jobs are being posted everywhere possible—job boards, state job service websites, career pages, and social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter). Some organizations are paying third parties to handle the heavy lifting of posting, interviewing, and making recommendations on who to select. Regardless of the methods, your company is out there looking for and competing with other companies for talent.

If you are a federal contractor or subcontractor, one of the primary reasons to engage IWD and Veterans in your quest for talent is because it shows good faith toward fulfilling your obligations under the AAP regulations. There are other reasons as well—there is a large pool of qualified workers out there who are disabled and/or Veterans, it is good for your public image, there may be tax breaks, and it is good business.

There are a consistent set of skills most employers believe Veterans bring to the civilian workplace. Each of these translates to a desirable quality or skill that business leaders are looking for in employees:

  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Diversity
  • Core values
  • Self-direction
  • Ability to meet deadlines and handle stress
  • Time management
  • Planning and organizing
  • Ability to conform to rules and structure
  • Strong organizational commitment
  • Ability to accomplish a mission with very little supervision
  • Adept at skills transfer from one task/project to another
  • Work harder, longer, and do not take as many sick days as non-Veterans
  • Resourcefulness
  • Resilience


Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks, has this to say about commitment to hiring Veterans in a recent article in The Wall Street Journal:

Commitment means that the 99% of Americans who never served in the military must find more ways now to match the contribution that the uniformed 1% have made. Businesses can do this by hiring veterans. Starbucks and other companies have announced plans to hire thousands of veterans over the next few years. Citizens can do it by building more programs to help veterans apply their remarkable skill set—leadership, grace under pressure, teamwork under the most complex circumstances—to civic life.

Sometimes it is difficult to see what skills and abilities a Veteran brings to the table, because translating military experience, skills, and education into civilian job duties literally requires a translator. A quick Internet search will produce several military skills translators including some that employers have placed on their own career sites. Use the translation information to let Veterans know how they are qualified for your open jobs.

Learn more about recruitment, hiring, and retention of Veterans by starting with the CareerOneStop Business Center, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. Or, download a publication from Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) entitled Support from Behind the Lines: 10 Steps to Becoming a Military-Ready Employer.

Companies are motivated to recruit and hire IWD for similar reasons as cited above for recruiting and hiring Veterans. Additionally there are studies to suggest there may be a link to increased revenue potential for employing IWD. Here are two statistics from the National Survey of Consumer Attitudes towards Companies that Hire People with Disabilities

  • 92% of the respondents felt more favorable toward companies that hire IWD
  • 87% agreed they would prefer to give their business to a company that hires IWD

There are some other benefits derived from recruiting, hiring, and retaining IWD:

  • Product improvement
  • Technology and service innovations
  • Increased access to buildings, parking, public areas
  • Expanded products and services
  • Tax incentives
  • Enhance shareholder value
  • Access to new markets

Some of these benefits may not seem readily apparent, however, social issues can turn into business opportunities. Consider what happened at Walgreens when it implemented accommodations for workers with disabilities. The end result was a new universal design that increased efficiency for its distribution centers in Anderson, S.C., and Windsor, Conn.

SunTrust Banks’ Mid-Atlantic Chairman, President and CEO CT Hill is quoted on the Employer Assistance and Resource website (

Hiring individuals with disabilities is, in fact, good for business.  The return on investment to SunTrust can be measured in several ways. One, it helps our diversity initiatives, building a strong workforce; two, it helps us to develop products and services, expanding our customer base; and three, it enables us to reach out to our entire community. It’s good for shareholders and it’s good for business.

There are a wealth of organizations and websites that can provide assistance and guidance to employers, whether you are just beginning a campaign to recruit IWD, or your processes are well established.  A good place to begin is with the Employer Assistance and Resource website (  EARN is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) under a cooperative agreement from the Viscardi Center. In addition to articles, notices, and references, you can read about other employers’ initiatives and success stories.

Berkshire Associates understands the importance of recruiting, hiring, and retaining IWD and Veterans. To learn more about these efforts, read the following article, “Top Talent Requirements are Met When You Hire a Vet.”

AJE/PEOPLEFLUENT WEBCAST – Actionable Tips to Meet New Record Keeping and Metrics Mandates by the OFCCP

Actionable Tips to Meet New Record Keeping and Metrics Mandates by the OFCCP

events-detail-page-oct2013-webinarThe Federal Register has updated two new rules very recently.  One governs regulations for hiring protected veterans (VEVRAA), and another governs the regulations for hiring candidates with disabilities, namely Section 503 of The Rehabilitation Act. Both rules go in effect March 24, 2014.  These regulations have raised the bar for record keeping and heightened the enforcement of current regulations.  These regulations are fairly complex and the requirements are not completely black and white.  Naturally, federal contractors and sub contractors have many unanswered questions.  Recently, on October 3, 2013, AJE President Rathin Sinha along with Julia Mendez of Poplefluent , conducted a webcast in an effort to make these new regulations and the intricacies of record keeping and analysis more lucid and accessible.
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Overview of the OFCCP Final Rules – Be Prepared!

OFCCP ComplianceThe OFCCP revised the regulations in an effort to strengthen federal contractor obligations and responsibilities with respect to protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.

The OFCCP has announced that contractors may take advantage of a “phased in” compliance schedule. Current contractors with written affirmative action programs (AAP) in place on the effective date of the final rule are not required to comply with the final rules until the start of their next 12-month AAP review and updating cycle.
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