On August 7, 2019, OFCCP held a VEVRAA/USERRA Town Hall at the Department of Labor in Washington, DC. The Town Hall sessions are intended to provide a forum where the contractor community can pose questions to OFCCP officials, as well as interact with others in breakout sessions designed to yield actionable recommendations to the agency.
During his introductory remarks, OFCCP Director Craig Leen stressed the importance of complying with the VEVRAA regulations, and the agency’s key role in being the only civil rights organization that aims to ensure equal employment opportunity for veterans. OFCCP is planning to announce 500 VEVRAA focused reviews this upcoming Veteran’s Day, which are not intended to be punitive. Instead, the goal of these reviews will be to conduct interviews onsite for information gathering purposes to understanding organizational best practices in the veteran employment.
Leen underscored that the OFCCP intends to provide assistance to contractors at every stage in the focused review. In tandem with these reviews, a number of resources will be published, including:
- A revived and refreshed focused review landing page;
- A list of best practices, which will incorporate Town Hall action items;
- A Technical Assistance Guide (TAG) will be published after the focused reviews are completed.
Other OFCCP updates Leen shared during the question and answer session included:
- Promotions focused reviews are tentatively slated for the spring of 2020. Technical assistance will be provided for these reviews, including FAQs.
- We can expect the academic TAG to be released around Labor Day of this year.
- OFCCP aims to pay increased attention to the outreach and recruitment of military spouses, and this issue will be of major importance in the VEVRAA focused reviews.
- Contractors should email the agency if they wish to obtain specific Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) statistics on veterans.
During the breakout sessions, major issues that were discussed included the need for a definition of “military spouse,” problems stemming from the lack of veteran and individual with disability self-identification, and the challenge of simply getting veterans as applicants or employees.
Some of the actionable recommendations from the breakout sessions included:
- The need to bridge the gap between employers and veterans. Specifically, education is needed on both sides: transitioning military should attend resume workshops to learn how to communicate their military skills to employers, and employers should be trained on military jargon and how it translates to veterans’ leadership skills (i.e. levels, acronyms).
- Increased OFCCP marketing to veterans. An example of this would be a Public Service Announcement, such as a VEVRAA equivalent to the recently released 503 invitation to self-identify video.
- Connect with local DOL veteran offices so veterans are aware of federal contractors and their aim to recruit veterans.
- Publishing 503 and VEVRAA success stories.
- O*NET currently has a crosswalk where Army MOS codes can be searched, and their corresponding civilian occupations will appear. However, a reverse search engine is needed for employers to query civilian jobs, with Army MOS codes as the search results.
As always, DCI will provide updates on this blog if the OFCCP decides to implement any of these proposed initiatives.
By Lily Kerr, HR Analyst at DCI Consulting Group