The Office of Inspector General at the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) contracted with the Urban Institute to provide an evaluation of EEOC’s Outreach and Education activities from a broad perspective. The five-month evaluation would provide a broad overview examining EEOC’s outreach and education efforts and, where appropriate, suggest areas where EEOC might improve its effectiveness or efficiency.
The evaluation relied on two sources to build its findings and conclusions: a series of interviews with key staff involved in outreach and education and an examination of relevant documents (see appendix A). Those interviewed included staff at EEOC headquarters, staff at EEOC district and field offices, representatives from a few FEPA-partner state agencies, one interview with the outreach and education office at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and three interviews with the staff working on outreach at the Department of Labor. In addition to the document review, we examined the EEOC website as well as EEOC’s social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
We found that EEOC performs a significant amount of outreach and education. Although we did not interview all staff in the agency, those we spoke with, identified many different staff both at EEOC headquarters, and in the district and field offices who conduct outreach and education. EEOC’s outreach and education is diffused throughout the different offices of EEOC. The primary outreach and education responsibilities fall within the Office of Field Programs. Nineteen program analysts (who are spread among the 15 district offices) conduct and organize a significant portion of EEOC’s outreach and education. Many other staff, including regional attorneys, investigators, legal counsel, and attorneys both at EEOC headquarters offices and in district and field offices, participate in presentations and events that occur throughout the year.
EEOC’s outreach includes both free and fee-based presentations, the latter relying on the revolving fund, which supports the efforts of EEOC’s Training Institute. The Training Institute is located in the Office of Field Programs (OFP), though a substantial portion of fees comes from training federal employees in the Office of Federal Operations (OFO). Through EEOC’s revolving fund, district offices organize technical assistant program seminars (TAPS) and other customer specific trainings (CSTs). These are specialized training and education programs that provide practical guidance to private employers and government agencies. Each district is responsible for one or two TAPS each year; sessions are held in cities within the district boundaries.
The Office of Federal Operations is responsible for outreach and education to federal agencies. Federal equal employment opportunity (EEO) investigators and EEO counselors are required to attend 32 hours of initial training. Existing staff are required to take eight hours of EEO refresher training each year whether through EEOC or another organization.
EEOC’s primary audience includes (a) workers; (b) employers, unions and employment agencies; and (c) advocacy groups for either of these audiences. Another common audience is lawyers who help enforce EEO laws. In effect, EEOC’s audiences include all adult members of the public and youth nearing the time they are likely to be seeking employment.