Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

308.59 - Special Emphasis Program Advisory Committee

The USGS Special Emphasis Program Advisory Committee (SEPAC) promotes diversity within the USGS reflective of the Nation's citizenry and addresses issues affecting quality of work life within the bureau.


OPR: Office of Equal Opportunity

1. Establishment The Deputy Director authorized the establishment of the USGS Special Emphasis Program Advisory Committee (SEPAC) on June 25, 2001, and announced its establishment on October 4, 2001. The SEPAC charter is attached as appendix A

2. Purpose. The USGS Special Emphasis Program Advisory Committee (SEPAC) promotes diversity within the USGS reflective of the Nation's citizenry and addresses issues affecting quality of work life within the bureau. The SEPAC works in conjunction with the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO), and regional and headquarters' management to achieve the goals and objectives of the USGS Special Emphasis Program to foster positive cultural change; ensures an open and communicative environment for cross-cultural exchange of information and ideas; meets diversity goals and objectives; and enhances the impact of USGS mission, vision, and strategic direction. The SEPAC shall:

  1. Advocate the goals and objectives of Federal, Departmental, and bureau special emphasis programs, to increase diversity within the workforce.
  2. Participate with management in the development of human resource strategies that improve recruitment, promotion, advancement, career development, and retention of women; minorities; individuals with disabilities; gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered individuals; and multi-racial, multi-cultural and other employees.
  3. Identify ways to eliminate workplace barriers and encourage practices and behaviors to promote equal opportunity and diversity.
  4. Develop and recommend strategies, policies, and programs that advance hiring, training, career development, retention, and promotion opportunities for all employees.
  5. Monitor and measure efficacy of recommended strategies.
  6. Communicate and promote USGS policies for workforce diversity and equal opportunity and serve as a link to Special Emphasis Program (SEP) communities, the Department of the Interior, and in coalitions with other Federal and non-Federal SEP-related groups.
  7. Seek broad representation and participation by USGS employees.

3. Representation. The USGS SEPAC is composed of four SEPAC standing committees, one representing each of the three regions and one representing headquarters. Each standing committee is comprised of a liaison from each of the bureau's eight Special Emphasis Programs and a management representative.

A. Special Emphasis Program Liaisons. SEP Liaisons perform their functions as a collateral duty and may use up to 20 percent of their official time in this capacity. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) that describes performance expectations and management support is established and signed by the SEPAC liaison, the liaison's first-line supervisor, and the management representative. To accomplish their program efforts, the four standing committees work cooperatively to address common issues. Additionally, SEP Liaisons accomplish their program and committee efforts by developing and using a distributed network of USGS employees. The Special Emphasis Program liaisons include the:

  1. Federal Women's Program liaison;
  2. Hispanic Employment Program liaison;
  3. Individuals with Disabilities Employment Program liaison;
  4. African American Employment Program liaison;
  5. American Indian/Alaskan Native Employment Program liaison;
  6. Asian American/Pacific Islander Employment Program liaison;
  7. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Program liaison; and
  8. Multi-cultural, Multi-racial, and Other Ethnic Groups Program liaison.

B. Management Representatives. The Deputy Regional Directors serve as the ex-officio management representatives to their respective Regional committees. The Headquarters management representative role is not attendant to any particular senior executive, and may be rotated among various senior executives. Management representatives provide advice, support, coaching and mentoring to SEPAC members in their roles as SEP Liaisons. In addition, the management representatives also work to ensure program continuity and progress toward implementation of appropriate special emphasis program practices. The management representatives provide clerical and logistical staff support and record keeping for their respective committees

C. Executive Board. Leadership and oversight for the SEPAC is provided through an Executive Board comprised of the chairpersons and management representatives from each standing committee and the Chief, OEO. The National SEP Manager serves as Executive Secretary to the Executive Board.

D. Office of Equal Opportunity Staff. Staff from the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) work with the SEPAC as ex-officio members. Select members of the OEO staff, including the Diversity Program Manager, Diversity Team Leader, SEP Manager, and Disability Program Manager, serve as resources to the SEPAC and each committee.

4. Type of Organization. Permanent.

5. Staff. The Office of Equal Opportunity provides advice and support to the committees and the Executive Board, as needed.

6. Meetings. The SEPAC holds an annual conference and convenes other meetings as needed. The Executive Board and the four standing committees hold meetings at the discretion of their respective chairpersons and according to their established operating procedures.

7. Subcommittees. The chairpersons of the four standing committees and the Executive Board may establish subcommittees on a permanent or ad hoc basis with the consensus of the members of their respective groups.

8. Termination Date. None. The charter for the SEPAC will be reviewed at least every 3 years.

Attachment: Appendix A