Hispanic Emphasis Program (HEP)
Heleodoro (Lolo) Garza Jr., (509) 454-5736
Hispanic Emphasis Program Manager
Hi, my name is Heleodoro “Lolo” Garza Jr., and I am the Hispanic Emphasis Program Manager for Washington State. It is my pleasure to represent the Hispanic community on the Washington State NRCS Civil Rights Advisory Committee.
I have over 30 year’s of experience with NRCS. Started with the agency as a Soil Conservation technician in the Othello Field Office, then as a Soil Conservationist at the Ephrata Field Office and now as the Resource Conservationist at the Yakima Field Office.
The Hispanic Emphasis Program (HEP) addresses the unique concerns of Hispanics with respect to providing equal employment opportunity in all NRCS personnel management policies and practices and in NRCS-sponsored programs and activities.
A Hispanic, Latino, or Latina is a person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race. People who identify their origin as Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino may be of any race or color.
The Hispanic Emphasis Program is an integral part of the equal employment opportunity (EEO) program and focuses on helping Hispanics to:
- Ensure that Hispanics receive equal treatment in all aspects of employment.
- Increase the number of Hispanics employed in all professional, administrative, technical, clerical, and other categories, series, and grade levels.
- Provide opportunities to participate in training, career development, and leadership programs.
- Encourage the participation of Hispanics in all NRCS-sponsored programs and activities.
- Provide a network of professional support for Hispanics.
- Provide mentoring support to Hispanics in the workforce.
- Educate all NRCS employees by raising the level of awareness of Hispanic workplace issues and concerns.
HEPM Duties and Responsibilities:
At the Washington State level, my position is as the collateral duty Hispanic Emphasis Program Manager. Following are my duties and responsibilities in this role:
- Advise the directors and State Conservationists on matters affecting the employment and advancement of Hispanics.
- Serve as a member to the civil rights committee in their organizational units to ensure that all NRCS activities are free from discrimination and that barriers to the recruitment, employment, and advancement of Hispanics are addressed. HEPMs assist in evaluating the effectiveness of the overall equal opportunity program in their organizational units and assist in identifying new and changing program needs.
- Coordinate or conduct educational programs (e.g., workshops, seminars, or other types of programs, such as HEP observances).
- Maintain close contact with community organizations for possible job referrals of Hispanic applicants and stay attuned to concerns of the Hispanic population.
- Attend job fairs or other functions at local high schools, colleges, and universities to obtain names of applicants and provide information on job opportunities; send recruitment literature to schools and community groups; sponsor workshops and speakers, information booths at conferences, career days, and other training programs.
- Keep the national HEPM informed of field activities affecting Hispanics.
- Serve as local representative at national, regional, and State meetings concerning Hispanic issues.
- Serve as a communication link between employees and the national HEPM, keeping State employees aware of HEP activities and developmental opportunities through electronic messages, memos, bulletins, newsletters, and other appropriate means.
- Perform other duties related to the HEP as identified by the Deputy Equal Opportunity Officer, national HEPM, and HEP committees, as appropriate.
We Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 – October 15:
The Hispanic community contributes in thousands of meaningful ways to the overall culture and well-being of our nation. Our understanding of this is important, and each year, from September 15 - October 15, NRCS celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month to honor achievements of Hispanics in America.
National Organization of Professional Hispanic Natural Resources Conservation Service Employees (NOPHNRCSE):
NRCS employees can take advantage of NOPHNRCSE to help deliver program benefits and services to the Hispanic community. Follow this link for more information:
Recent Success with Hispanic Community:
Of late, NRCS has enjoyed increased interest from the Hispanic Community. Following are some links that will take you to where you can find out more:
Conservation Footprints -
Conservation Showcase -
And More –
Other Hispanic Cultural Websites from Washington State and around our nation: