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NRCS Hosts 2016 Annual Civil Rights Training Conference

On Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, the NRCS Civil Rights Division (CRD) hosted the FY 2016 Annual Civil Rights Training Conference.

The theme of the conference was “Be Fit – Fair, Inclusive, Transparent” with the intention of promoting awareness regarding  conflict resolution, embracing differences, and understanding fairness and inclusion. Overall 200 participants, including the Chief of NRCS, Jason Weller, as well as Associate Chief for Conservation, Leonard Jordan, who made opening remarks, were in attendance. Eleven USDA Agencies were represented by the attendees, which include NRCS, GIPSA, FSIS, RMA, ARS, AMS, OASCR, OHRM, OIG, NIFA, and FNS as well the Department of Commerce and Court Services & Offender Supervision Agency.

The FY 2016 Annual Civil Rights Training Conference featured eight session topics; “Increasing your FITness Education”; “Dealing with Conflict Due to Cultural Differences in the Workplace”; “Role of Agency Counsel in Civil Rights Cases”; “Reasonable Accommodations & Preventing Disability Discrimination in Employment”; “Melting Pot or Salad Bowl: Addressing Conflict in Diverse Organizations”; “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Nondiscrimination in the Federal Workplace”; “Using ADR Techniques” and “How to Prevent Retaliation.” The most popular training topic was “Dealing with Conflict Due to Cultural Differences in the Workplace”, which had a total of nearly 40 participants and the most number of NRCS employees. It is also worth mentioning that all of the 28 participants who attended the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Nondiscrimination in the Federal Workplace session received mandatory AgLearn credit.          

Notable presenters that helped made this training successful included Ms. Cynthia Butler, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Ms. Sheila Walcott, USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights; Mr. Leonardo Rowe, Bureau of Engraving and Printing; Ms. Britt Stuart, USDA, Office of the General Counsel;  Mr. Amar Nair, USDA, Office of the General Counsel; Ms. Brandi A. Peters, USDA, Office of the General Counsel; Mr. Timothy O. Schranck, USDA, Office of the General Counsel; Mr. Victor Voloshin, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Mr. William (Bill) Scaggs, USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights; Mr. J. Carlos Alarcon, USDA, Office of the General Council; Mr. Christian E. Pagan, USDA, Office of the General Counsel; Mr. Steven C. Brammer, USDA, Office of the General Counsel; and Ms. E. Abena Antwi, Attorney-Advisor, USDA, Office of the General Counsel.

The evaluation survey results indicate that 94% of participants responded with favorable and positive feedback.  Many gave the training conference a rating of “excellent”, “outstanding”, “superb”, and even “incredible.” Positive comments that came up more than a few times by evaluators was that the training conference was “very informative & educational” and that it should be “made mandatory for all NRCS employees and managers to attend.” 


Employment Complaints & Resolution Management Branch


 Program Evaluation & Compliance Branch