| Program: || VA Minority Forum, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs , Washington, DC |
| Contact(s): || Michael A. Moore, Chair: (202) 273-5083 |
| Purpose: || To provide an open forum and dialogue network where issues, concerns, barriers, and solutions can be freely discussed to formulate best practices and propose them to the top management of the Veterans Affairs |
Employee groups for minorities, people with disabilities, and women at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have been historically divided. In 1993, representatives of VA offices and volunteer groups, such as the Asian Pacific American Heritage Council, Blacks in Government, Black History Month, VA Hispanic Association, VA Native American Committee, VA's National Committee on the Employment of Disabled Veterans and People With Disabilities, and the Federal Women's Program came together to create the VA Minority Forum (Forum). The Forum provides an opportunity for employees to share work-related issues and concerns, and work together to identify and implement solutions.
The Forum's goals and objectives have evolved over time. Originally, the chair of the Forum led monthly brown-bag meetings at which an agency office head discussed his or her equal employment opportunity efforts with Forum members. These lunchtime speakers highlighted diversity best practices in the VA and other agencies. The Forum's role gradually expanded to include the substantive analysis of VA efforts toward equal employment opportunities and the development of diversity best practices proposals for agency adoption. The Forum has also made assertive efforts to be involved with many different initiatives, both inside and outside the agency. It invited the USDA's Civil Rights Action Team to address the Forum and discuss the posting of all agency workforce diversity profiles on the Internet. The Forum is currently proposing to the Secretary and top managers that the VA adopt this diversity best practice. The Forum also empowers individuals to be aware of opportunities in outreach, recruitment, skills training, and advancement. The Forum inspired development of the One-VA Employee One-Stop Website, www.va.gov/1vaemployee/, which is a constant source of employment-related information and represents a collaboration of diversity leaders within and outside VA.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
The Forum boasts a core of 100 members, 20 issue development leaders, and 35 "One-VA Employee" champions. The Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs have recognized the important contribution of the Forum. The One-VA Employee One-Stop Website on the VA's Intranet was announced by the Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs.