The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will offer a new series of training courses for federal EEO officers next year, officials said this week. The training program is part of EEOC's larger effort to improve the federal EEO process and address the rising number of discrimination complaints that have led to excessive case backlogs. Training will be conducted by EEOC attorneys and administrative judges and EEO counselors from other agencies. "Unlike previous training, the commission is partnering with other federal agencies," said Carlton M. Hadden, Director of EEOC's Office of Federal Operations. "Therefore, [new counselors] will have the added benefit of learning about the many roles and responsibilities of an EEO counselor from qualified individuals on the front lines at sister agencies." Alternative dispute resolution techniques will be a centerpiece of the training, according to Hadden. Under new federal rules, all federal agencies are required to establish alternative dispute resolution programs, which are designed to settle disputes outside of a courtroom using arbitration or mediation. New EEO counselors and investigators will receive four-and-one-half days of training, while current counselors and investigators will participate in a one-day refresher course. The courses fulfill the requirements of EEOC Management Directive 110, which established new guidelines for the training of EEO counselors and investigators. While federal agencies can still offer their own EEO training, commission officials hope agencies will enroll EEO workers in their course. "Through pilot programs we tailored [the course] to deliver what counselors want and need," said Joel Kravetz, Attorney Advisor at EEOC. "We believe we have a pretty darn good course." Starting in January, EEOC will offer the training in several cities across the country. At the request of agencies, EEOC trainers will teach the course on-site.
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