On February 23, 2016, America’s Job Exchange (AJE) co-hosted a webinar with Jackson Lewis on ‘A Comprehensive Outreach Plan for OFCCP Compliance.’ The webinar was very well received with more than 600 in attendance and there were several important and relevant questions posed to the panelists.
Laura Mitchell, Partner, Jackson Lewis, and Gary Cowan, Director of Compliance, America’s Job Exchange (AJE), were the speakers and they covered two important topics:
- Effective veteran outreach for OFCCP compliance and
- AJE’s Outreach Management System – a tool available for customers to record outreach activities easily and in a central location
For companies with federal contracts, OFCCP would like to see employees with disabilities totaling 7% across all job groups. For successful recruitment and retention, such companies need effective outreach and recruitment measures that would allow them to reach this goal. Below are examples of three companies who have made a big difference in the lives of candidates with autism.
Mary Ellen Smith, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of worldwide operations, in a blog post early this year (April 3, 2015), announced the company’s pilot program to hire candidates with autism for full time positions at the firm’s Redmond offices in Washington. For this initiative, Microsoft has partnered with Specialisterne, a company that helps candidates with autism find meaningful employment. Microsoft’s pilot scheme will initially recruit 10 people with autism. If successful, the scheme could extend to more vacancies worldwide.
Disclosing a disability when in the midst of a job search is a complex decision. While some disabilities are clearly visible, others are not. Although the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against prospective job applicants with a disability, statistics show that the percentage of disabled people who are unemployed in spite of the law, has not decreased significantly. The revisions to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, that went into effect March 24, 2014, holds federal contractors accountable for 7% utilization goal for candidates with disabilities. This is a noble goal federal contractor will need to aspire to. This should give candidates with disabilities enormous confidence about increased job opportunities in the near and distant future. Another component of the new regulations is that it allows employers to ask candidates to voluntarily disclose their disabilities by using an OFCCP approved form. Here are some tips about disclosing a disability:
The 33rd Industry Liaison Group National Conference 2015, in New York, July 29-July 31, celebrated “Onward and Upward: Building the Future of Compliance.” For the first time, representatives from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) collaborated on panels to discuss pay equity, gender identity, background checks and other major issues that impact equal employment opportunity.
Industry experts educated attendees on several topics of current importance:
Disability and Veteran Outreach
As a federal contractor, it is very important to have a comprehensive good faith effort in your hiring program in support of OFCCP compliance. The first order of business for federal contractors is to list all their jobs in national job sites and/or post them in social media sites and also make it accessible through mobile phone applications. The idea is that such jobs should reach every nook and corner of the society so that they are accessible to all job seekers including minorities, women, veterans and the disabled. In addition, one has to post these jobs in specific niche job sites catering to the above groups. For VEVRAA, these jobs must be sent to One-Stop Centers and posted to state job sites.
Posting to national job sites could cost as much as $400 per job and posting to the niche websites could cost almost $200 a job. So it can add up very quickly. Additionally, posting to the state job systems, especially if you have multiple states to cover, as well maintaining updated lists of Community Based Organizations and One-Stop Centers can be very time consuming and labor intensive. It could also turn costly if you need personnel to manage all of this book-keeping.
A better alternative does exist. Third party providers such as America’s Job Exchange (AJE) can provide such services at a much cheaper rate. What’s especially appealing is apart from keeping costs low they also provide more expertise, efficiency and an understanding of how the process works. Third parties like AJE have over the years developed state-of-the-art web platform, job distribution technology and search methodologies. They are also intertwined in the ecosystem in a way that enables them to form enriching partnerships with niche job sites, community organizations and employment agencies which allows them to get jobs posted at a much cheaper rate. In addition, most of the third party providers have in-house specialists who can advise in specific scenarios when special support is needed and have engineers who are domain experts. Most importantly, like any business, when a third party does the same thing over and over again for a variety of customers, they gain certain efficiency over time just from the repetitive process.
To top it all, vendors like America’s Job Exchange can provide live customer service and assistance in the event of an audit by providing pertinent data, reports and expertise to navigate the audit process.
The tasks are huge and the costs are substantial, so getting help from a third-party provider is highly beneficial. We encourage you to reach out to us and see for yourself how we can assist you!
The Office Of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) expects good faith outreach efforts pertaining to affirmative action to be expansive to increase the pool of qualified candidates. Outreach has to be external (to reach the wider labor market), and internal (immediate workforce). Proof of outreach must be meticulously maintained. Good faith efforts also encompass training and promotion of the internal workforce. Results of these efforts also need to be documented and stored for three years in case of an OFCCP audit. Federal contractors and sub-contractors are required to set hiring goals for protected veterans (7%) and utilization goal for Individuals with Disabilities (7%) in all job groups. Additionally, they need to set goals under EO 11246 as applicable. Continue reading