By Rosemary Cox
On Thursday, May 26, 2022, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report, GAO-22-104599, which outlined seven recommendations where the Office of Federal Contract and Compliance Programs (OFCCP) could substantially enhance efforts to recruit, retain, and increase veteran employment.
In the report, the GAO notes specifically that while OFCCP does offer resources to help federal contractors recruit veterans, it does not include key practices, such as writing veteran-friendly job descriptions. The GAO also found that they lack data on the protected veteran population and do not clearly specify how contractors should use the hiring benchmark.
To develop recommendations, the GAO interviewed agency officials and representatives from 10 stakeholder groups, reviewed guidance documents and enforcement procedures, and analyzed enforcement data and a non-generalizable sample of 46 contractors' affirmative action programs, selected for variation in employer size, industry, and geography.
Following are the recommendations from the report. The Director of OFCCP should:
- Clarify how contractors should use the VEVRAA hiring benchmark, including providing examples of how contractors can use it as a tool to measure progress in hiring protected veterans.
- Incorporate key practices, such as those identified by other agencies, for employing veterans into its public information on VEVRAA.
- Provide information to contractors and workers that encourages self-identification for protected veterans. For example, OFCCP could make a video explaining the benefits of self-identification for protected veterans similar to one it has for individuals with disabilities.
- Use available data to better approximate the size and characteristics of the veteran population protected under VEVRAA. For example, OFCCP could consider how to adjust the data it uses from the CPS Veterans Supplement to approximate the subset of veterans who are protected.
- Assess the feasibility of using existing data or collecting new data to incorporate into enforcement procedures that would allow OFCCP to assess systemic discrimination against protected veterans.
- Assess the costs and benefits of adjusting the VEVRAA hiring benchmark to reflect protected veterans who may not be captured in the civilian workforce or who have relatively high unemployment rates, including protected veterans who have significant service-connected disabilities.
- Ensure the reliability of the VEVRAA hiring benchmark data collected in its case management system and use these data to better monitor contractors' hiring benchmarks and equal employment efforts for protected veterans, as well as assess its own VEVRAA compliance assistance efforts.
Watch for future DCI blogs on how OFCCP may begin to implement these recommendations.