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PRESS RELEASE
10-9-03

EEOC LAUNCHES NATIONAL FORUM SERIES ON 'REALITIES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN THE 21ST CENTURY WORKPLACE'

First Program to Examine Hispanic Perspective on Labor Force and Marketplace Trends

WASHINGTON - Cari M. Dominguez, Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), today announced the launch of a national forum series entitled Realities and Opportunities in the 21st Century Workplace. To coincide with National Hispanic Heritage Month, the first forum will focus on the Hispanic perspective of labor force and marketplace issues and trends, and it will take place on Wednesday, October 15, at EEOC Headquarters, 1801 L Street, N.W. (9th Floor Commission Meeting Room), from 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon.

The purpose of the forum series is to explore, educate, and inform employers, employees, the general public and other interested parties about workplace/marketplace trends and challenges affecting specific segments of the nation's changing population. Future forums will address topics related to African American, Asian American, and Native American communities as well as people with disabilities, women, various generations, and other groups.

"This national dialogue is designed to facilitate a thoughtful exchange of views from various perspectives on key issues affecting today's labor force and marketplace," said EEOC Chair Dominguez. "These panel discussions will heighten awareness to the unique needs and experiences of diverse communities and examine ways in which the Commission can further advance its mission to ensure full access and inclusion in the workplace."

The national forum series is part of the EEOC's "Freedom to Compete" Initiative, which was launched by Chair Dominguez in 2001. Through enhanced outreach, education, communication, and coalition-building strategies, this initiative was designed to complement the Commission's enforcement programs.

The following invited panelists are confirmed to participate in the first session of the series:

  • Donna Maria Blancero, PhD, Assistant Professor of Human Resource Management, W.P. Carey School of Business, and a Research Faculty Affiliate, Hispanic Research Center, Arizona State University. Dr. Blancero's current research focuses on issues that affect Hispanic business professionals.
  • Anna Duran, President of the Duran Group. Dr. Duran has conducted extensive research on the performance and "bottom-line" results of companies that practice diversity.
  • Alma Morales Riojas, National President and CEO, MANA one of the largest Latina membership organizations dedicated to the empowerment of Latinas through leadership development, community service, and advocacy.
  • Eric Rodriguez, Director for Economic Mobility, National Council of La Raza. The Council is a nonprofit organization established to reduce poverty and discrimination and to improve life opportunities for Hispanic Americans.
  • Susan Isabel Santana, Associate, Holland and Knight LLP. Ms. Santana practices in the areas of Corporate Diversity, Counseling and Government Relations.
  • Quintin Vargas, PhD, National Director of Operations, SER-Jobs for progress National, Inc. SER is a national network of employment and training organizations that develop and support initiatives which are designed to increase the use of America's human resources, with a special emphasis on the needs of Hispanics.
  • Brent A. Wilkes, National Executive Director, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) one of the country's largest and oldest Hispanic civil rights organizations.
  • Al Zapanta, President and CEO, U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber is responsible for operations in 14 regional offices in the United States and six in Mexico.

NOTE TO MEDIA: Chair Dominguez and the panelists will hold a media availability immediately following the forum to meet the press and take questions.

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; sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991; the Equal Pay Act; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; and the Rehabilitation Act's prohibitions against discrimination in the federal government. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.