ARS EEO, Civil Rights Awards AnnouncedBy Jim Core
February 2, 2004
BELTSVILLE, Md., Feb. 2--Agricultural Research Service (ARS) chemist Shu-I Tu of Wyndmoor, Pa., and members of the agency's Mid South Area Workforce Diversity Committee in Stoneville, Miss., have won the 2003 ARS Administrator's Equal Employment Opportunity and Civil Rights Awards. ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.
Tu, a research leader at the agency's Eastern Regional Research Center (ERRC) in Wyndmoor, is being recognized for outstanding leadership and contribution to the agency's EEO and civil rights programs.
The Mid South Area Workforce Diversity Committee, headquartered in Stoneville, Miss., is comprised of 19 agency employees. The committee is being honored for establishing diversity in the workplace and fostering an environment where all employees contribute creative ideas, seek challenges, assume leadership and exceed at business and personal objectives.
Tu has used several career enhancement programs to develop underrepresented employees' full potential and utilize their skills to the maximum. He takes advantage of training opportunities to increase the skills of all ERRC workers. He has developed and contributed to outreach programs in the area, including hosting minority students from the area to allow them to observe ERRC researchers and expose them to scientific career fields.
Tu established the ERRC's Asian Pacific American Heritage Observance in 1986 to foster employee awareness. The annual event includes lectures, cultural exhibits, ethnic luncheons and art demonstrations. He also co-founded the Philadelphia Chapter of the Asian Pacific American Network in Agriculture in 1995 and served as president for three years.
Edgar King, the Mid South Area (MSA) director in Stoneville, established the Workforce Diversity Committee in 1998 to diversify ARS workforce locations in Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. King assembled a team of MSA employees to serve on the committee. They were to follow the principle that development of the most innovative, productive and efficient workforce required incorporation of a philosophy among its fellow employees of fostering a culture built on trust, respect, teamwork, communication, empowerment and commitment.
The committee took three courses of action to achieve diversity in the MSA workplace: recruitment and outreach programs, retention through training and development, and fostering a spirit of inclusion and assimilation.
In the area of hiring, the committee vigorously recruited targeted groups for vacancies and built pools of potential candidates, including high school students, for future employment. The committee also developed educational materials for distribution and a web site to highlight employment opportunities in agricultural sciences as well as administrative positions. Officials charged with selecting employees at all locations in the area were required to submit proof in writing that they made all reasonable efforts to consider individuals from under-represented groups for open positions. This policy was later adopted agency-wide.