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Frequently Asked Questions - Special Emphasis Program


What is the role of the Special Emphasis Program (SEP)?


The Special Emphasis Program is implemented and observed primarily to ensure that minorities, women, people with various disabilities, and people with various sexual orientations are provided an equal opportunity in all aspects of employment. These programs improve the workplace environment by promoting and fostering diversity in the workplace through awareness and educating employees and others to appreciate, value, understand, and celebrate social and cultural similarities and differences.

The primary objectives of the Special Emphasis Program is to enhance the Equal Employment Opportunity Program as it relates to federal personnel policies, practices, and equal employment opportunity. The primary objectives of the Special Emphasis Program are:

  • Analyzing agency workforce data and identifying barriers in the areas of recruitment, hiring, promotions, career development, reasonable accommodation and retention affecting the full representation of targeted groups (i.e. minorities, women and individuals with disabilities).
  • Compiling, developing, and disseminating information and documents for managers, supervisors, and employees to provide knowledge and sensitivity in all facts or issues of accessibility and reasonable accommodation of individuals with disabilities.
  • Developing and conducting programs such as training courses, workshops, job fairs, conferences, and commemorative observances to provide awareness, sensitivity and understanding of the special issues affecting employment of the protected groups.

What are the Special Emphasis Programs (SEP) celebrated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)?


The programs celebrated by CDC and ATSDR are: Martin Luther King Jr., Birthday Commemorative Program; African American Heritage Month; Women's History Month; Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month; Hispanic Heritage Month; Disability Awareness Month; and, Native American Heritage Month.


Why is there never a celebration for my particular group?


The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requires that we have special emphasis program plans in place for women, persons with a disability, African American, Asian/ Pacific Islander, and Hispanic. The programs that have been planned are designed to increase awareness and work towards increasing representation levels for these groups.

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