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On November 3, OFCCP updated its Technical Assistance Guide (TAG) for contractors and subcontractors under supply and service contracts. The guide is designed as a “valuable self-assessment tool” and give contractors direction when it comes to best practices for eliminating discrimination and fulfilling OFCCP’s requirements.

The latest version of the Supply and Service TAG looks to be a deeper dive into a number of important topics such as job group analysis, formatting for recordkeeping, organizing written AAPs, and preparing for a compliance evaluation. Some of the more noteworthy parts of the TAG include:

This revised guide is a part of Director Craig Leen’s focus on updating OFCCP’s website with additional resources for contractors. TAGs are important for contractors to understand the most effective ways to successfully comply with OFCCP’s requirements, particularly when it comes to affirmative action obligations and responding to compliance concerns.

If you’re looking for TAGs in areas outside of the Supply and Service industry, you can review the Educational Institutions TAG, Construction Contractor TAG, and Small Contractors Guide are all available to assist you.

If you’re looking for additional help regarding OFCCP and its related topics, we encourage you to check out Circa’s Resources Library for all your needs.

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Through its notice Monday, OFCCP announced its proposal for an annual Affirmative Action Program (AAP) certification process for federal contractors. In its justification for this plan, OFCCP stated it looks to create a “method for federal contractors to submit AAPs electronically to OFCCP when they are scheduled for a compliance evaluation.”

To ensure consistency, OFCCP developed a new online management portal called the Affirmative Action Program Verification Interface (AAP-VI). The AAP-VI would allow federal contractors to certify their AAPs efficiently, increase compliance, and “optimize the compliance review process.”

New OFCCP Proposal for Annual AAP Compliance Verification

Contractors would be required to create an account through login.gov and confirm their contractor information. Then on an annual basis, users would log in to submit their AAP compliance certification through the AAP-VI program. Users would select one of three options to fulfill their requirement:

  1. Entity has developed and maintained affirmative action programs at each establishment, as applicable, or each functional business unit.
  2. Entity has been party to a qualifying federal contract or subcontract for 120 days or more and has not developed and maintained affirmative action programs at each establishment, as applicable.
  3. Entity became a covered federal contractor or subcontractor within the past 120 days and therefore has not yet developed applicable affirmative action programs.

Existing contractors are given 90 days to comply with the certification requirement (once it takes effect). For new contractors and existing contractors who become subject to AAP requirements after the effective date, they will have 90 days from the time they develop their AAP.

Contractors can request compliance assistance from OFCCP during this 90-day period, and will not be penalized in any way for requesting any help. Following the first certification year, “OFCCP will set a date by which all existing contractors must renew their annual certification.”

Under this proposal, federal contractors would also be required to upload their AAPs through the AAP-VI program when undergoing compliance reviews. There is some consideration, n the future, that an annual upload of AAPs could be an additional certification option for these establishments.

While the current proposal is OFCCP’s preferred option, three alternatives were included in the supporting documentation as OFCCP seeks public comment. The additional options are:

Option 1:

  All contractors would be required to certify annually.  Contractors who are scheduled for a compliance evaluation will submit their AAPs as they currently do, via email or a delivery service.  The total burden in the first year is 46,759 hours at a monetary cost of $3,359,634.  The annual burden in subsequent years is 12,041 hours at a monetary cost of $865,146.

Option 2:

  All contractors would be required to certify and upload their AAPs on an annual basis.  The total burden in the first year is 70,139 hours at a monetary cost of $5,039,487.  The annual burden in subsequent years is 35,421 hours at a monetary cost of $2,544,999.

Option 3:

  All contractors would be required to certify every two years.  Contractors who are scheduled for a compliance evaluation will submit their AAPs as they currently do, via email or a delivery service.  The total burden in the first year is 41,914 hours at a monetary cost of $3,011,521.  The annual burden in subsequent years is 7,196 hours at a monetary cost of $517,033.
The deadline to submit public comment is November 13, 2020. For more information on OFCCP compliance and news, check out the Resources Library provided by Circa.

 

On September 11, 2020, the Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP) came out with its latest Corporate Scheduling Announcement List (CSAL) for federal contractors and subcontractors. The list includes 2,250 supply and service establishments, as well as 200 construction contractors.

All contractors and subcontractors on the CSAL have a 45-day window before OFCCP starts sending out audit scheduling letters. Once they receive this letter, these establishments have just 30 days to respond to OFCCP with their Affirmative Action Programs (AAPs) and supporting data.

OFCCP Releases 2020 CSAL With New Types of Reviews

This list is informing these contractors that their establishment will be audited in the near future. There will be seven different types of reviews for the Supply and Service Contractors, including two new types of audits:

Accommodation Focused Reviews

OFCCP will take a deeper look at the reasonable accommodation practices and policies for individuals with disabilities. Additionally, they may also review the religious accommodations provided. Contractors should ensure all requests and actions related to these types of accommodations are documented. At this time, no further details have been released.

Promotion Focused Reviews

Up until now, OFCCP has focused on outreach and hiring practices when searching for discrimination. As expected, OFCCP is taking the next step in recognizing and correcting disparities in promotional practices within organizations. As with the accommodation reviews, a scheduling letter has not been created for the promotional reviews yet, so more information will be coming in the future.

Construction Contractors

The 200 construction contractors and subcontractors on the CSAL will be subject to a compliance check. These reviews are a scaled-down version of the full compliance audits, with the hope more will be finished. OFCCP has completed fewer than 700 compliance reviews of construction contractors in the past five years.

There will certainly be more information coming out of OFCCP in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can be prepared by checking out the OFCCP Compliance Audit Checklist and the guide to responding to your scheduling letter.

With OFCCP currently scheduling VEVRAA Focused Reviews, federal contractors need to be prepared for the new audits. These specific reviews center on affirmative action compliance for protected veterans as required by the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA).

Back in November of 2019, OFCCP published the new Corporate Scheduling Announcement List (CSAL) of 500 establishments selected for a VEVRAA Focused Review. These federal contractors and subcontractors are now receiving scheduling letters to inform them of the date of their review and to request certain information:

  1. Copy of your Executive Order 11246 Affirmative Action Program (AAP)
  2. Copy of your VEVRAA AAP
  3. Results of your evaluation of the effectiveness of outreach and recruitment of qualified protected veterans
  4. Documentation of data for applicants and hires for the preceding AAP year and at least the first six months of your current AAP year (if six months or more into the your AAP year)
  5. Documentation of the hiring benchmark you established, including methodology used if utilizing the five factors
  6. Copy of your collective bargaining agreements with documents you prepared (policy statements, employee notices, etc.) that implement, explain, or elaborate
  7. Copies of reasonable accommodation policies and documentation of accommodation requests received, as well as the resolution (if applicable)
  8. Most recent assessment of personnel processes, including descriptions of the review and actions taken based on the assessment
  9. Most recent assessment of physical and mental qualifications, including the schedule for the review and actions taken based on the assessment

OFCCP Starting VEVRAA Focused Reviews: What You Need to Know

Each establishment has only 30 days to submit all of this data once they receive their scheduling letter. This time constraint is why it is vital employers are consistently tracking and documenting the above information. On top of submitted this data, contractors need to prepare for their on-site VEVRAA Focused Review. For a comprehensive guide on what is expected during the audit, employers should review the VEVRAA Compliance Audit Checklist.

Keep in mind, due to COVID-19, the on-site visit will likely be done virtually. This has been the process for the Section 503 Focused Reviews. These “virtual on-sites” should be treated with the same level of importance and detail as any live audit review.

If you have more questions or concerns, you can find many valuable resources. OFCCP released an FAQ earlier this year for the VEVRAA Focused Reviews. You can also find insights on preparing for these reviews from the OFCCP’s veteran outreach event or head to the Department of Labor (DOL) website for more information.

Should your organization need more in-depth assistance or guidance with your compliance efforts, you can connect with an expert at Circa today.

Federal contractors and subcontractors can now file their VETS-4212 Reports, breaking down their employment data for 2019. As a part of the United States Department of Labor (DOL), the Veteran Employment and Training Service (VETS) is in charge of the VETS-4212 filing.

While the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) delayed the EEO-1 filings due to COVID-19, nothing has changed for the VETS-4212 reports. The deadline for contractors to submit their information is September 30, 2020.

Federal Contractors: File Your VETS-4212 Report Now

Employers required to complete the VETS-4212 Report need to provide information regarding the number of new hires and employees in their workplace who qualify as protected veterans. The obligation to report falls under VEVRAA, one of the laws enforced by OFCCP. Protected veterans can be defined in four ways:

These annual reports are vital for monitoring the effective affirmative action efforts in employing veterans and advancing them within their organizations. OFCCP also utilizes the data from the VETS-4212 Reports in compliance evaluations to ensure federal contractors are compliant. These are often referred to as OFCCP audits and may include reviews specific to VEVRAA regulations.

Contractors and subcontractors are encouraged to submit their forms electronically with the VETS-4212 Reporting Application online or through the batch filing process.  They can also submit the report via U.S. mail or, preferably, by completing the form and submitting via email to vets4212-customersupport@dolncc.dol.gov.

Those who choose to file through traditional mail may experience delays due to COVID-19-related social distancing measures. It is strongly recommended employers submit their reports electronically. If you need additional information or have questions, visit the FAQ section on the VETS-4212 page within the DOL website.

Should your organization need more in-depth assistance or guidance with your compliance efforts, you can connect with an expert at Circa today.

Milwaukee, WI (July 22, 2020) – LocalJobNetwork™, recognized as a leader in workforce recruiting and OFCCP compliance management today announced a new branding and go-to-market approach as Circa. The company’s research shows that organizations are shifting from diversity as a program to diversity as a business strategy. This repositioning better aligns its products and solutions to a core underlying diversity mission.

Circa’s new mission states that diverse teams have the power to transform business and has substantial supporting data. According to a McKinsey study, teams with racial, ethnic and gender diversity, have on a national average 33% higher performance. And there’s more. The Harvard Business Review denotes 19% higher revenues for companies with above average total diversity.

For organizations, especially OFCCP federal contractors, diversity is no longer about checking a box. It’s about generating results. Circa’s diversity recruiting technology and outreach management platform focus on job seekers from racial, ethnic, minority, veteran and disabled groups, giving companies solutions to find, hire and manage diverse workers.

“Diversity of thought, talent and team is often the determining factor between companies that lead their category and those that are left behind,” said Patrick Sheahan, CEO of Circa. “Technology advancements have brought people worldwide closer together and revealed cultural uniqueness. It is proven that through diversity, we are given the opportunity to understand each other better, build stronger relationships, and drive innovation and revenue growth to our organizations.”

As part of the rebrand announcement, Circa is also launching product enhancements the week of July 27, 2020.

  1. PoweredBy 2.0 with a new modern look to seamlessly integrate a career page into a company’s website. Easier application process and overall user experience by job seekers.
  2. Outreach Management Dashboard – an interactive dashboard visually showing the results of employer-initiated outreach. Includes results from jobs sent through the system linkage agents and VetConnect™. Provides contact information for the outreach partner.

Sheahan added that the diversity focus is both external, celebrating the product launches, as well as internal to the company, having taken the CEO Pledge earlier in the year. “The pledge is a start, but it takes more than that to become a D&I leader,” he said.

Led by Roselle Rogers, Circa Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), the company’s internal DEI action plan focuses on developing and implementing best practices to diversify its workforce and build a more inclusive culture. In addition, the company hosts conversations and dialogues to raise awareness within the organization around diversity, race, and gender issues as well as educational campaigns to celebrate cultural diversity.
As for the company’s name, Circa, is iconic and the logo epitomizes the power of transformation, according to Cathy Hill, Vice President of Marketing for Circa. “We started our rebrand in late 2019 and our research clearly identified workplace diversity as our common thread across our products and solutions. We used this as our “why” to guide us to our new name and look.”

The name Circa is iconic with two levels. Circle/encircle speaks to layers of growth and capability and is time-based as a signal for a future that is more inclusive, equitable, and higher performing. Circa’s logo letters are kerned to create a visual rhythm with subtle cues to connect individuals and create a more powerful whole. The distinctive “i” speaks to the unique value of the individual.

Circa’s capabilities include:

ABOUT CIRCA
Circa, formerly LocalJobNetwork™, (CircaWorks.com), is a catalyst for 21st century companies to build high-performing diverse teams and is the largest provider of OFCCP compliance solutions. The company was founded in 1994, has 5000+ customers, 17,500 community partner relationships and in 2019 posted 5M+ jobs through its network of 600+ online employment websites.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has made $4.1 million available in grants for recruiting, training, mentoring, and hiring women for certain apprenticeships and nontraditional careers. The $4.1 million of funding is a major increase over last year’s awarded amount, which was just under $1.5 million.

In an effort to push and support women into successful careers in typically underrepresented careers – cybersecurity, manufacturing, infrastructure, etc. – the DOL has announced this measure. The goal is to help push more women into quality apprenticeship programs and create paths for women into careers that often see extremely low numbers of females in the workforce.

According to U.S. Secretary of Labor, Eugene Scalia, “Apprenticeships provide a promising avenue for women to gain valuable skills while earning a living.”

Through the Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) grant program, up to 11 community-based organizations will be selected to split the $4.1 million award. These organizations need to offer one or more of the following types of assistance to qualify for the funding:

Scalia added that grants “will help women gain new skills to succeed in the changing economic environment,” as well as provide “important opportunities for women to work in occupations that traditionally have had fewer women workers.”

Driving more women into apprenticeships will have long term benefits as it creates additional opportunities for both the individual and employers. These programs allow companies more time and a larger talent pool to use to recruit, develop, and retain skilled workers who otherwise may have been overlooked.

Apprenticeships are particularly valuable in the skilled trades involving construction, an industry dominated by male employment. However, other high-growth industries are emphasizing apprenticeships regularly, such as infrastructure, health care, manufacturing, and cybersecurity.

These grants will be administered by the Department’s Women’s Bureau and the Employment and Training Administration. Part of the mission is to develop policies and standards in the interests of working women. The Women’s Bureau specifically strives to advocate for female equality, economic security, and quality work environments. This falls in line with the important focus on creating diverse teams in the workplace, which drives innovation and increased productivity.

For additional information on the 2020 grants, check out the FAQ on this topic. You can also find a list of the 2019 recipients on the Women’s Bureau WANTO page.

In an effort to keep employers informed, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its technical assistance publication focused on COVID-19 issues. The questions and concerns are important for general employers, as well as federal contractors obligated to OFCCP and its regulations.

EEOC’s updates address many of the common questions resulting from the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Laws enacted to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. In the piece, “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws,” employers learn can learn about various plans and best practices for employees returning to the workplace.

The publication offers employers insight into how employees can make disability accommodation requests ahead of time, including flexibility arrangements. These requests can be made ahead of time and allows employers to consider them individually.

The latest additions to the publication and frequently asked questions section also touch on some more specific area related to COVID-19, as well as employee caretakers and those with family responsibility:

Furthermore, EEOC provides information on harassment in the workplace toward employees of Chinese or other Asian descent. The publication discusses strategies to prevent such harassment and reminds employers that employees can be harassed remotely or in person.

You can find additional employment resources – with a focus on COVID-19 concerns in the workplace – on EEOC’s website. EEOC and LocalJobNetwork are committed to keeping employers and employees informed of their rights amid the continued developments on this topic, whether it is related to OFCCP, diversity, or general employment practices.

In a new FAQ last week, OFCCP provided federal contractors with guidance on employment preference for American Indians (Native Americans). Specifically,  OFCCP acknowledges for the first time that contractors can legally offer employment preference to “Indians living on or near an Indian reservation in connection with employment opportunities on or near an Indian reservation.”

To determine if an area is “near” an Indian reservation, OFCCP notes that includes “where a person seeking employment could reasonably be expected to commute to and from in the course of a workday.” Should this apply to a position, and the contractor publicly announces its preference in employment to Indians, this would not violate the equal opportunity clause.

OFCCP offers a number of additional pieces of guidance throughout the FAQ. Some of the more prominent insights include:

Indian preference is not limited only to hiring. Federal contractors may expand this preference to a variety of employment-related actions. Beyond hiring, the preference permission includes promotions, terminations, reinstatement, layoffs, and reductions in force.

As with other outreach focuses, federal contractors should look to build relationships with these groups. Contacting local organizations specializing in helping Indian/Native American job seekers is vital. It is important to keep in mind, qualified individuals must be living “on or near an Indian reservation,” regardless of where the outreach group is located.

If you’re looking for assistance contacting diversity groups – including those focused on Indians/Native Americans – contact us to learn about LocalJobNetwork’s database of more than 20,000 community-based organizations. As with all OFCCP obligations, be sure you also understand what documentation is required for compliance as well.

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