One of the current audit trends, which result in conciliation agreements concerning violations and remedies, is the lack of sufficient outreach efforts.
This could be in the form of insufficient outreach efforts for individuals with disabilities and protected veterans or females and minorities based on identified areas of underutilization outlined in a contractor’s affirmative action plan.
Identifying outreach sources can be challenging for federal contractors who should make an effort to attract qualified females, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and protected veterans into their workforce.
Not only is identifying outreach sources a challenge but once sources have been identified, the next challenge is to establish relationships with these organizations and receive referrals from these organizations. It is not enough for a contractor to identify outreach sources and demonstrate outreach efforts, but contractors also have to evaluate whether their outreach efforts are successful. If the measures are unsuccessful, and no referrals are received over time, the contractor must search and identify alternate outreach sources and establish new relationships.
To assist contractors in identifying outreach sources, the OFCCP has provided on their website an outreach referral directory which allows contractors to specify the type of outreach source they are looking for (females, minorities, protected veterans, individuals with disabilities), the type of position they are looking to fill, and the geographical area of their search.
While this directory does include a fair number of outreach sources, it does not provide enough information to relieve contractors of the obligation to identify and pursue additional outreach efforts. The following recommendations may be helpful to contractors who are in a conciliation agreement and are struggling with identifying significant outreach sources toward the recruitment of females, minorities, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities:
- Work with your local ILG to see what outreach efforts are being used by other federal contractors in your area
- Contact the OFCCP compliance officer who conducted your audit to request suggestions for outreach sources
- Network with other federal contractors in your area for possible suggestions for outreach sources
- Research websites and job fairs, schools, and community organizations in your area to determine whether they can refer potential candidates to meet your needs
Proactive outreach and recruiting efforts are the main focus of OFCCP audits, and this obligation is one of the biggest challenges for federal contractors. Federal contractors can help each other by sharing information and relaying successful strategies to identify outreach sources and implementing outreach efforts that have a positive impact on recruiting results in terms of females, minorities, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities.