DoD Receives EEOC Award for Workplace Diversity, Fairness
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 14, 2006 The Defense Department was among seven recipients of a prestigious U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission-sponsored award at a ceremony held here today.
David S.C. Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, accepted the Freedom to Compete Award on behalf of DoD from EEOC chairwoman Cari M. Dominguez at EEOC's headquarters. The second-annual award recognizes government and private sector employers for their programs that promote diversity and fair competition in the workplace.
DoD is greatly honored to receive the award, Chu said, because it recognizes programs that "espouse the principle of free and unfettered access to employment opportunities for all individuals."
The EEOC award statement highlighted DoD's 16-year-old Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program, which Chu helped to establish when he was assistant secretary of defense for program analysis and evaluation in 1989.
Known by the acronym CAP, the Tricare-administered program provides workplace assistance technologies, devices and other services for people with hearing, visual, dexterity, cognitive and communication disabilities so they can work and function at DoD and other federal workplaces.
CAP has filled almost 50,000 requests for accommodations since 1990. Today, CAP also provides assistance for servicemembers who've been injured during the global war against terrorism. And CAP and the Department of Labor co-sponsor a workforce recruitment program that assists disabled university and college students in their job searches.
DoD's CAP program partners with 64 other federal agencies in providing workplace assistance technology for disabled employees.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission chair Cari M. Dominguez presented the awards and praised the awardees at today's ceremony.
The Freedom to Compete awards are presented to employers who've run successful programs that embrace workplace diversity and seek to eliminate discrimination, Dominguez said.
"The majority of employers want to do the right thing," Dominguez said. "They realize that discrimination only hurts their organization by lowering morale and productivity."
Allowing workplace discrimination in any form is simply unwise, "because you're ruling out a pool of talent that really needs to be part of the American dream -- and really is needed -- to make sure that we keep and maintain our economic-global pre-eminence," she said.
Other Freedom to Compete Award recipients for this year were:
- McDonald's Corporation, Oak Brook, Ill.
- Fluor Corporation, Irving, Texas.
- Public Service Electric & Gas Company, Newark, N.J.
- Arizona Public Service Company, Phoenix, Ariz.
- Linking Employment, Abilities and Potential (nonprofit), Cleveland, Ohio.
- North Broward Hospital District, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.