October was National Disability Employment Awareness Month. November is National American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month, and it’s also the month when we observe Veterans Day and the anniversary of the creation of the Glass Ceiling Commission. These anniversaries and observances play an important role in drawing attention to the many contributions people with disabilities, American Indians and Alaska natives, veterans, and women make – both to the nation’s workforce and to society at large.
These events underscore our nation’s core values, including equality, opportunity, and the belief that benefits are available for all people who are willing to work for them. These are values that the Office of Federal Contract Compliance upholds every day.
We do this by enforcing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act and Executive Order 11246. Together, these laws prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran.
Our goal is simple: to ensure that companies funded by U.S. taxpayers carry out their work in a manner that reflects and upholds U.S. values.
And my staff is committed to pursuing this goal. In the past four and a half years, OFCCP has recovered more than $45 million in financial remedies for 84,000 workers and we have negotiated nearly 9,300 potential job offers for workers who were denied a fair shot at employment because of unlawful discrimination. And we have also sought to make lasting relief – to correct bad employment practices and to fix policies that create barriers to equal opportunity.
My staff approaches this work with great enthusiasm because we believe that equality and opportunity are essential components of a vibrant, growing American workforce. While the government shutdown put a temporary pause on our work, we’ve returned to our jobs with renewed commitment to our mission and enthusiasm for our daily tasks. We look forward to upholding these values throughout the season, and in the years to come.
Patricia A. Shiu is the director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.