WASHINGTON - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) held a series of "Data Dialogues" this week to introduce stakeholders to the agency's new Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics (OEDA). Advocacy groups, employer representatives, academics, and researchers, including from non-profit organizations, participated in meetings at EEOC headquarters in Washington, D.C., to interact with OEDA's leadership and hear about the new structure within the agency.
The EEOC made a significant update over the past year to develop a 21st century data analytics office. This began in November 2017 with the hiring of the EEOC's first-ever Chief Data Officer, Dr. Chris Haffer, and was followed by the reorganization and upgrade of the agency's 21-year-old Office of Research, Information & Planning into the new OEDA.
OEDA was created in May 2018 to develop an enterprise-wide data analytics system, utilizing state of the art data and information science tools to enhance mission effectiveness and make the EEOC's data readily available to both internal and external users.
"It was clear to me the agency had to make some dramatic change to bring our capacity into the 21st century," said EEOC Acting Chair Victoria A. Lipnic. "We also had to address important issues about data protection, access, and internal data governance. The new OEDA allowed us to do all of that."
"Equally important," Lipnic added, "the EEOC sits on a treasure trove of data. We will now be able to make better use of that data, with consistency, to better serve our customers and the mission of the agency in a more efficient and effective manner."
At the meetings, stakeholders discussed employer and industry coding of EEOC charge data, the potential for bias in "big data," and the need for useful data and information products that can help identify trends in employment opportunity. Among the most important exchanges was information about the EEOC's new "Data Enclave," which is currently in development to allow researchers secure access to EEOC data.
Chief Data Officer Haffer said, "The information exchanged this week with stakeholders was an essential step in the development of the EEOC's data analytics strategies. Going forward, the information exchanged during these sessions will help us in our goal of expanding the use of data and technology to support agency programs and improve customer service."
OEDA is comprised of the Business Operations and Organizational Performance Division, Data Development and Information Product Division, Information and Data Access Division, and Data Analytics Division. In addition to other functions, the OEDA team manages the EEOC's EEO surveys, which collect workforce data from employers, unions and labor organizations, state and local governments, and public and secondary school systems and includes the team of economists and statisticians who advise on large investigations.
The creation of OEDA has also resulted in the agency's participation in the development of the Federal Data Strategy. In July 2018, Kimberly Essary, the Deputy Director and Senior Counsel of OEDA, was selected to serve as a Federal Data Fellow as part of the Administration's Federal Data Strategy Team. This core group of cross-discipline federal data experts will help develop practices and action steps for the Federal Data Strategy as part of the President's Management Agenda (PMA) and the Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goal of Leveraging Data as a Strategic Asset. "I am both honored and excited that the EEOC is contributing to the development of this Federal Data Strategy given the importance of the agency's work concerning employment practices," said Deputy Director Essary. "With the creation of OEDA, the EEOC is well-positioned to support the transformative role data can have to make the federal government more efficient and transparent, and to better serve the American people."
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.