EEO in Action: Step Up Your Outreach to Protected Veterans 

As we celebrate Veterans Day, the month of November is a good time for federal government contractors and subcontractors to reflect on their practices to ensure that they are meeting their affirmative action obligations by engaging in outreach efforts to hire and advance qualified veterans in the workplace. As demonstrated by its auditing practices, the OFCCP remains focused on ensuring that contractors take affirmative measures to build and strengthen their outreach efforts. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis's statement on Veterans Day [available here] echoed the OFCCP's focus on hiring veterans by urging:

So this Veterans Day, I encourage employers to make the commitment to put our veterans to work for them. It's an act of patriotism that's good for our country and good for their bottom line.

So now, more than ever, federal contractors must do much more to demonstrate that they are making meaningful good faith efforts to ensure compliance with their veterans obligations -- and that requires ACTION. With this in mind, we have outlined below examples of specific measures that will help you demonstrate compliance with your outreach efforts. Pick just TWO or THREE of these action items and implement them this month. If you do so, you will be well on your way meeting your affirmative action obligations concerning veterans.

Post Open Positions

  • As you likely know, the veterans regulations require that federal contractors post almost all jobs with the state workforce agency, job bank or local employment service delivery system where the opening occurs. If you are not posting jobs with the state, start now. You can find the local job banks for each of your company's locations here: http://www.jobbankinfo.org.
  • If you are already posting your jobs with the state, make sure your related practices are in compliance. For example, did you know that before you transition a temporary worker placed at your facility by a third-party staffing company to a regular hire, you should post the job with the state workforce agency or job bank? This is considered to be an external hire and, in most instances, it should be posted with the state.

Establish Resources for Referrals

  • Locate two or three veterans organizations in your local recruitment area and send them a letter introducing your organization. Ask them for on-going collaboration and referral of protected veterans. You should describe your organization and the skills of the employees you are seeking with as much specificity as you can. This will give the veterans organizations a good "hook" to keep you and your organization in mind when they have qualified candidates.
  • The OFCCP's Employment Resource Referral Directory ("Directory") is a good place to start looking for referral sources. The Directory lists governmental and non-governmental not-for-profit organizations as references to assist with the hiring of qualified applicants, including veterans, by contractors. The Directory is available on-line here.

Deepen Relationships With Your Referral Partners:

If you already have a good network of veterans organizations, take your partnerships to the next level.

  • For instance, invite one of the veterans organizations with whom you work for a tour of your operations. Where practicable, show them your open positions or share your job descriptions. View the tour as an opportunity to personalize your organization to your veterans referral source. This is a way to seek to ensure that these organizations are sending you veteran candidates who have the skills you need.
  • Partner with one of your veterans organizations to offer practical Human Resources training for veterans. For instance, you may offer to host a one-hour resume-writing course or donate an hour or two of your time for one-on-one meetings with veterans to review and provide tips on improving their resumes. This is your opportunity to be creative. The goal is to build personal relationships with referral sources so that the best referrals come your way.

Create a Tracking System

  • Be sure to save your letters and make a log of your outreach efforts. As part of your log, keep track of the names of people with whom you speak, and the dates on which you spoke with them. The log does not need to be elaborate -- just a few notes to document your work will give you the information you need to demonstrate your good faith efforts should the OFCCP come knocking.