SANFORD – Area employment security workers and workforce development officials got a lesson in equal opportunity from Mose Dorsey, administrative officer of the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Division of Workforce Development.
When it comes to employment, equal opportunity simply means the absence of discrimination based on race, color, age, gender, national origin, religion, or mental or physical disability.
At a seminar hosted Sept. 23 by Central Carolina Community College and the Triangle South Workforce Development Board, Dorsey outlined the process by which officials should handle discrimination complaints and how the state handles discrimination matters. The training was prepared by Triangle South Workforce Development's Equal Opportunity Office Rosalind Cross.
Dorsey, a former discrimination investigator with the federal Justice Department, explained that caseworkers should be careful, since discrimination isn't always simple to identify.
“Not everything is discrimination,” he said, pointing to an employment security office he’d dealt with in the western part of North Carolina that was staffed solely with white females. “The demographics of that area made all of the applicants white, and the wages paid for the positions in that office meant very few men were applying for these jobs. There's nothing wrong with that.”
Still, Dorsey said employment security offices should be handling a caseload that reflects the demographics of their counties.
“If the demographics of your county aren't the same as the demographics of your caseload, something is wrong,” he said, explaining that reaching out to all sectors of a community is important.
The training session was mandatory for many employment security workers and other employees under the federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA). It was held at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center in Sanford.
The WIA funds the Triangle South Workforce Development Board, which exists for the purpose of maintaining a diverse and adaptable workforce in Lee, Harnett, Chatham, and Sampson counties. Triangle South works through Central Carolina Community College and offers a variety of programs, including adult education, training for new employment, services for dislocated workers and youth, and other opportunities for making the workforce in general responsive to the needs of area employers.
Services are offered to a wide variety of residents, so anyone interested in learning more about the Triangle South Workforce Development program (which encompasses Lee, Harnett, Chatham, and Sampson counties) is encouraged to call (919) 777-2122 or visit www.trianglesouthworkforce.com