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Number: DAO 215-3
Effective Date: 2009-04-10


.01 This Order establishes policy and assigns responsibilities for developing, implementing and reporting of the Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program (FEORP) at the Department of Commerce (the Department).

.02 This revision updates Departmental FEORP responsibility; provides specific requirements for FEORP plans and changes the office of primary interest from the Office of Civil Rights to the Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM).


In 1964, Congress adopted a basic anti-discrimination policy, Title 5 United States Code (U.S.C.) 7171, for Federal employment to provide equal employment opportunity for all employees and prohibit discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. This policy was redesignated as 5 U.S.C. 7201 in 1978 as part of the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA), requiring the immediate development of a recruitment program designed to eliminate underrepresentation of minority groups at all levels and occupations within the Federal workforce. The CSRA and its directive for a special recruitment program clearly merge the requirement for basic personnel policy with requirements for Federal equal opportunity policy. The CSRA established in law the first merit principle that recruitment should be designed to achieve a Federal workforce representative of “all segments of society,” 5 U.S.C. 2301 (b)(1).

.01 Section 717 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, states that all personnel actions affecting employees or applicants of the Federal Government shall be made free from discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, or national origin.

.02 Title 5 U.S.C. 7201 states that recruitment should be from qualified individuals from appropriate sources in an endeavor to achieve a workforce from all segments of society.

.03 Regulations and guidance for the FEORP is provided in 5 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 720, Subpart B.

.04 The FEORP applies to all positions in all pay plans, unless specifically exempted by statute.


.01 Applicant Pool. All types of listings from which selections may be made, including but not limited to: promotion lists, competitive certificates and inventories of eligibles, applicant supply files, lists of eligibles for certain noncompetitive appointments, and leadership development programs.

.02 Category of Civil Service Employment. Such groupings of Federal jobs by grades and/or occupations as the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) deems appropriate within the General Schedule and the prevailing wage systems.

.03 Civilian Labor Force (CLF). Includes all persons 16 years of age and over, except those in the armed forces, who are employed or unemployed, and seeking work. CLF data are defined by the Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics and are reported in the most recent decennial or mid-decade census, or current population survey, under 13 U.S.C. or any other reliable statistical study.

.04 FEORP. A recruitment program designed to eliminate underrepresentation of minorities and women in Federal service.

.05 Minority. Refers only to those groups classified as “minority” for the purpose of data collection by OPM and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in furtherance of Federal equal employment opportunity policies. The term, “women,” includes non-minority as well as minority women.

.06 Recruitment. The total process by which the Federal Government and Federal agencies locate, identify and assist in the employment of qualified applicants from underrepresented groups for job openings in categories of employment where underrepresentation has been determined. It includes both innovative internal and external recruitment actions. It is also intended to cover processes designed to prepare qualifiable applicants (those who have the potential but do not presently meet valid qualification requirements) for such job openings through programs of training and/or work experience.

.07 Underrepresentation. A situation in which the number of women or members of a minority group within a category of civil service employment constitutes a lower percentage of the total number of employees within the employment category than the percentage of women or members of a minority group within the CLF of the United States, in accordance with
5 CFR § 720.205 (c) and (d).


All components of the Department shall undertake efforts to generate diverse applicant pools for Department positions consistent with race, national origin, and gender percentages in the CLF. The Department and its Operating Units shall prepare FEORP plans for increasing the number of minority and women applicants for underrepresented jobs by grades and/or occupations.


The Department and its Operating Units must have an up-to-date FEORP plan covering recruitment for positions at various levels and geographic locations within the Department. FEORP plans must be available for review in appropriate offices of the Department and must be submitted to OHRM upon request. The FEORP must be consistent with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, civil service regulations, and applicable labor agreements. Each FEORP plan must:

.01 Include annual specific determinations of underrepresentation for each group and quantifiable data by which progress toward eliminating underrepresentation can be measured.

a. When the organizational unit is located in a geographical area where the percentage of underrepresented groups in the area’s CLF is higher than their percentage in the national labor force, the operating unit must base its plans on the higher level of representation in the relevant CLF; and

b. When the organization unit is located in a geographical area where participation of a particular underrepresented group is significantly lower than its participation in the national labor force, the operating unit, in consultation with the Department and OPM, uses the lower percentage in determining underrepresentation.

.02 Be developed not later than October 1st of each year. The Department and its Operating Units are to certify that their plans are in full compliance with 5 CFR § 720.205 and contain the following:

a. An assessment of grades of job categories and the number of jobs in such categories expected to be filled in the current year, and on a long-term basis (based on anticipated turnover, expansion, hiring limits, budgetary constraints, and other relevant factors). The plan must identify occupational categories and positions suitable for external recruitment (vacancy announcements open to all sources), and a description of special targeted recruitment programs for such jobs and positions;

b. An assessment of job categories and positions likely to be filled by recruitment, and a description of recruitment programs developed to increase the number of minority and female candidates from internal sources, such as through training programs, for such positions;

c. An assessment of internal availability, including training programs, of candidates from underrepresented groups for higher job progressions by identifying job-related skills, knowledge, and abilities which may be obtained at lower levels in the same or similar occupational series, or through other experiences;

d. A description of the methods to be used to locate and develop minority and female candidates for each category of underrepresentation and an indication of how such methods differ from and expand upon the recruitment activities prior to the establishment of the special recruitment program
or the last revision to the current FEORP plan;

e. A description of specific, special recruitment efforts that will be used to recruit in communities,
educational institutions, and other likely sources of qualified minority and female candidates;

f. A description of the efforts which shall be undertaken to identify jobs which can be redesigned so as to improve opportunities for minorities and women, including jobs requiring bilingual or bicultural capabilities or not requiring English language fluency;

g. A list of priorities for special recruitment program activities based on the identification of:

1. Immediate and longer range job openings for each occupational/grade-level grouping for which underrepresentation has been determined;

2. Hiring authorities which may be used to fill such jobs; and

3. The possible impact of its actions on underrepresentation.

h. A description of training and job development programs that will be used to provide skills, knowledge and abilities to qualify increased numbers of minorities and women for occupational series and grade levels where they are significantly underrepresented; and

i. A description of problems for which the assistance of OPM is needed, and will be requested by OHRM.


.01 The Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration, assisted by the Director, OHRM, provides general policy direction for FEORP and ensures successful implementation of this program for compliance with Federal regulations and this Order.

.02 The Director, OHRM, in coordination with the Department’s Director for Civil Rights, shall:

a. Ensure the Department’s FEORP is developed and updated annually;

b. Ensure there are adequate guidelines and technical support for Operating Units to prepare FEORP plans and other program activities;

c. Ensure FEORP activities are taking place within the Department through training, information, and coordinated recruitment activities;

d. Prepare the Department’s annual FEORP report and respond to inquiries on program activities;

e. Designate a Department FEORP Coordinator who shall assist in the execution of these responsibilities;

f. Review and evaluate FEORP activities as part of the Department’s corporate human capital strategy and workforce initiatives; and

g. Provide assistance to the Department and Operating Unit FEORP Coordinators in the development and maintenance of recruitment sources and other Department activities to reduce underrepresentation.

.03 The Director for Civil Rights shall:

a. Provide program advice and guidance to ensure that FEORP activities complement other Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) activities; and

b. Provide assistance to the Department and Operating Unit FEORP Coordinators regarding outreach activities.

.04 The Heads of Operating Units shall:

a. Ensure the Operating Unit’s FEORP is developed and updated annually;

b. Ensure FEORP activities are taking place within the Operating Unit through training, information, and coordinated recruitment activities;

c. Prepare the Operating Unit’s annual FEORP report and respond to inquiries on program activities to include in the Department’s annual FEORP accomplishments report;

d. Designate an Operating Unit FEORP Coordinator who shall assist in the execution of these responsibilities, and maintain close liaison with the Department’s FEORP Coordinator on all aspects of the Program;

e. Hold managers and supervisors accountable for meeting FEORP responsibilities; and

f. Be responsible for reducing underrepresentation in their workforce.

.05 The designated Operating Unit FEORP Coordinator shall:

a. Implement Department FEORP policy and develop plans in accordance with this Order;

b. Consult with the Principal EEO Officer to identify occupations to be addressed in the Operating Unit’s FEORP plan;

c. Ensure the integration of FEORP activities with EEO activities; and

d. Initiate outreach efforts to locate minority and women candidates who meet employment
eligibility standards.

.06 Servicing Human Resources Offices shall:

a. Provide advice and assistance to selecting officials when vacancies occur in underrepresented occupations; and

b. Assist managers, FEORP Coordinators and Principal EEO Officers in the implementation of FEORP policy, procedures, and requirements in serviced organizations.

.07 Managers and Supervisors shall:

a. Be held accountable for reducing underrepresentation in their workforce; and

b. Contribute to FEORP planning by determining employment opportunities to reduce underrepresentation.


This Order supersedes Department Administrative Order 215-3 dated January 5, 1987.

Signed by: Director for Human Resources Management

Approved by: Acting Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration

Office of Primary Interest: Office of Human Resources Management

Questions and Comments

Send Questions or Comments on the Commerce Directives Management program to Directives@doc.gov.

Office of Privacy and Open Government
Office of the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce


November 22, 2021