Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

We the People

California Civil Rights Advisory Committee

Across USDA, civil rights ensures equal employment opportunities and program access for all employees and customers. It ensures that every employee, applicant and program participant is treated with dignity, equality and respect by enforcing Civil Rights (CR) and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO).

Purpose and Scope of the Civil Rights Advisory Committee

The Chief of Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) serves as the equal opportunity officer (EOO) for NRCS. The NRCS Civil Rights Program encompasses all equal employment opportunity and program delivery-related matters. The Associate Chief, State Conservationists, and Directors of the Caribbean and Pacific Basin Areas will serve as the deputy equal opportunity officer (DEOO) for their respective jurisdictional areas.

Each DEOO will establish a Civil Rights Advisory Committee (CRAC) which advises them on matters related to affirmative employment, equal opportunity, and program delivery by ensuring equity and participation in all NRCS programs, activities, and initiatives in their respective jurisdictional areas.

The CRAC is designed to provide management officials and employees with a vehicle that enhances and fulfills their equal opportunity and program delivery responsibilities. CRAC members will carry out their responsibilities consistent with USDA policies, procedures, and practices regarding affirmative employment and program delivery, which are nondiscriminatory with regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity. The CRAC provides input and assistance in the areas of policy formulation and program direction and administration. 

Composition of the Civil Rights Advisory Committee

CRACs are established by DEOOs to assist and advise on all matters related to equal opportunity and program delivery by ensuring equity and participation in all NRCS programs, activities, and initiatives in their respective jurisdictional areas.

The CRAC membership will be representative of the unit’s workforce by occupations, grade levels, race, sex, national origin, disability status, sexual orientation, and geographical location. Members can either be selected or appointed at the discretion of the DEOO.

Special emphasis program managers will serve as members of the CRACs and provide leadership in their areas of responsibility.

Outreach coordinators and other specialists, as appropriate, will serve as advisors to the CRACs. Members of the State or area leadership team may also serve as advisors.

CRAC appointments are made for a minimum of three years and may be extended and reappointed at the discretion of the DEOO, so that no more than one-third to one-half of the membership is replaced each year.

The CRAC chairperson may be selected or appointed by the DEOO.

Roles of the Civil Rights Advisory Committee

The CRACs serve as an advisory body to the DEOO by:

  • Identifying and bringing to management’s attention any trends, problems, issues, or concerns.

  • Monitoring recruitment practices and making recommendations for ensuring that under-represented groups are made aware of employment opportunities for career positions, temporary summer employment, or special appointment.

  • Focusing the attention of management on specific personnel practices or problems of an equal opportunity nature that are producing or could produce dissension and dissatisfaction among employees (e.g., merit promotion procedures; selection for training and assignments; criteria, nomination, and distribution of awards; etc.).

  • Monitoring the policies and overall effectiveness of the affirmative employment plan regarding recruitment, hiring, promotion, and retention.

  • Recommending and coordinating training resources for various civil rights workshops, seminars, and meetings.

  • Acting as a forum for an exchange of ideas and action proposals on sensitive issues, matters, or concerns of a program civil rights nature.

  • Encouraging, supporting, or assisting in the development of projects or activities associated with program civil rights needs or opportunities.

  • Contributing to the development and implementation of strategies designed to improve and increase awareness of and participation in NRCS programs and activities by underserved groups, individuals, and communities.

  • Promoting and communicating the efforts of management to achieve and operate a realistic and ongoing civil rights program. 

  • Participating in civil rights compliance reviews, as requested.

Responsibilities of the Civil Rights Advisory Committee

  • In addition to serving as advisor to the DEOO, the CRAC establish lines of communication between employees and management through which employees’ views on civil rights issues may be brought to the attention of management, providing management with feedback on the performance of the NRCS Civil Rights Program, identifying weaknesses, and recommending ways in which the program can be improved. All recommendations are reported in writing to the DEOO for appropriate consideration and follow-up action.

  • The CRAC members should receive training within 6 months of their initial selection in order to know and understand agency responsibility for equal opportunity and civil rights compliance in program delivery. A list of training courses that will enhance the effectiveness and performance of the committee members’ duties and responsibilities will be maintained on the FPAC Business Center, Civil Rights Division website under “Training Materials.”

  • CRAC members will monitor all regulations and executive orders governing affirmative employment, equal opportunity, and program delivery policies and practices, including governmentwide regulations and internal agency rules and procedures. Members should jointly establish the CRAC bylaws, operating procedures, and strategic guidelines deemed appropriate.

  • The CRAC must develop business plans which include long-term (3–5 years) goals, objectives, and actions.

  • The CRAC does not receive, investigate, and/or in any way adjudicate individual or class complaints of employment or program discrimination.

  • The CRAC will maintain copies of the minutes of each meeting and forward a copy to the DEOO.

  • The CRAC will meet as often as necessary, and at least quarterly.

2024 USDA NRCS CA CRAC Committee Poster-Dec 2023