WASHINGTON - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) yesterday awarded to Pearson Government Solutions a contract for a pilot National Contact Center to begin operating in spring 2005, following a six-month planning and training period. The center is intended to enhance customer service in responding to an estimated one million or more unsolicited inquiries received by the Commission each year.
"Pearson Government Solutions is ideally equipped to rapidly move the EEOC, in terms of public access and front line communications, into the 21st century," said Commission Chair Cari M. Dominguez. "By partnering with a company prepared to deliver the outstanding service and cutting edge technology options that our customers expect and deserve, the Commission will vastly improve both our professional face to the public and, in turn, our full range of operations. Between Pearson's strong proposal and its impressive track record, I am confident that we have made an excellent choice."
Through the National Contact Center, the public will gain a central EEOC point of contact offering expanded hours of operation (8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time); informed customer service personnel; support for up to150 languages; an automated system with answers to frequently asked questions accessible on a 24-hour basis; the ability to submit inquiries via electronic mail; and the assurance that inquiries will be tracked for follow-up. The center also will be invaluable to the Commission in identifying and responding to workplace trends and emerging patterns of employment discrimination. Individuals requiring assistance beyond general information will be referred to appropriate EEOC staff for counseling, guidance, and action. Additionally, the establishment of a National Contact Center will allow EEOC staff at headquarters and 51 field locations to focus more on responsibilities relating to charge intake, investigations, mediation, litigation, and outreach to employers and employees.
The pilot National Contact Center will be physically located in Lawrence, Kansas. A well-trained group of customer service representatives of sufficient number to provide live, prompt and thoughtful service to every individual who contacts the center will be assigned solely to respond to EEOC calls. Calls will be monitored for quality assurance and for the purpose of tracking demographics, issues and concerns that will assist in guiding the development of the center's operations and future EEOC policy. Pearson has designated as its program manager Elizabeth Thornton, who as a federal employee worked for more than 30 years for the EEOC, including as Deputy Legal Counsel and then as Director of Field Programs, prior to her retirement in mid-2002.
"We are very pleased to have been chosen by the EEOC to launch the National Contact Center. Our experience in managing award-winning, multi-channel E-Gov programs and contact centers for federal agencies made Pearson well-suited for this project," said Mac Curtis, CEO and President of Pearson Government Solutions. "We are also fortunate to have Elizabeth Thornton leading our team, whose knowledge of the EEOC and its programs will be valuable in the agency's repositioning efforts."
The contract is for a two-year period at the cost of about $4.9 million. Following an evaluation of the center's operations, the Commission will have the option of continuing the contract with Pearson for three additional years. The company's proposal was selected from among 25 proposals submitted in response to a solicitation notice published in the Federal Register on March 8, 2004. An internal EEOC work group reviewed the proposals and submitted to the Commission a recommendation for this vendor, which was voted upon and approved during a public meeting held this past Friday, September 17.
Pearson Government Solutions has more than 20 years of experience operating contact centers for the federal government, as well as state, local, and international governments. With a corporate office headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, the company serves 27 government programs in five major contact centers in the United States.
The EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prohibits discrimination against individuals 40 years of age or older; the Equal Pay Act; Title I of the ADA, which prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; the Rehabilitation Act's prohibitions against disability discrimination in the federal government; and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Further information about the Commission is available on the agency's web site at www.eeoc.gov.
This page was last modified on September 21, 2004.
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