Hello everyone and welcome to Texas!
While activities technically started yesterday with pre-conference sessions and the vendor reception last night, today is the official start of the 2017 ILG National Conference. The conference kicked-off with a live Mariachi Band and festive dancers in brightly colored traditional outfits – a great welcome to San Antonio for all in attendance.
The morning’s keynote address was given by OFCCP Interim Director Tom Dowd. Tom mentioned briefly the Agency’s work to transition under the Trump administration, stating the process was still on-going and stated only that he’s been asked to speak to both the Senate and the House regarding the proposed merger of OFCCP with EEOC, without commenting further.
Tom spent the majority of his address emphasizing his vision for the agency to work harder on compliance assistance and communicating with the contractor community. For the first time in ILG conference history, Tom asked all of the OFCCP Regional Directors to attend the conference so they could hear from the contractor community directly.
Transparency and direct communications with contractors were two big themes of Tom’s speech which fed into his larger goal for the agency – to improve its relationship with contractors. Tom shared several of his visions for the agency, including a training program, where by contractors could “earn” a pass from compliance reviews for 2 -3 years if they successfully completed a yet-to-be-developed agency training program. Another is the idea to bring back public acknowledgement for contractors that demonstrate commitment to EEO. Throughout his speech, Tom reaffirmed that a “vast majority’ of contractors – approximately 98% – are in compliance.
In closing, Tom emphasized his desire to use the conference as a way for OFCCP and the contractor community to interact – asking specifically for contractor suggestions and comments on creative and innovative ways for the two groups to work together. This week should offer lots of opportunities to do just that.