COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
The 14th Flying Training Wing recently launched a program specifically tailored to address employment opportunities for special emphasis groups on Columbus AFB, which originates from Air Force Instruction 36-205, Affirmative Employment Program (AEP), Special Emphasis Programs (SEP) and Reasonable Accommodation Policy.
“The program goes back to 2010, but at the time it didn’t have a lot of DoD (Department of Defense) elements. It fell directly under the EO (Equal Opportunity) program and it took years to pull it out,” said Dr. Jackson Akwaowo, 14th Force Support Squadron Affirmative Employment Program manager. “It still falls under the Equal Opportunity program, but it is its own entity. The primary focus is employment advancement of individuals in those targeted groups in Federal government.”
“When people think about EO, the first thing everyone thinks about is complaints. When it comes to the Special Emphasis Program, the purpose is educating people about the special observances we have and discussing barriers to employment and advancement,” said Akwaowo. “It’s ensuring that we truly do level the playing field for everyone involved and create an environment where everyone is treated with dignity and is allowed to reach their full potential.”
Special Emphasis Programs are integral to the overall Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) program to enhance employment, career development, and advancement opportunities of all EEO groups. All Air Force employees are eligible to apply to become SEPM’s (Special Emphasis Program Managers).
“In the future the impact this will have will be to bring to light any barriers here at Columbus,” said Akwaowo. “If there are, then we’ll work together to mitigate those barriers so that everyone is treated with respect.”
A SEPM is responsible for the concerns of the represented group in the areas of hiring, training, mentoring, career developmentand retention. They serve as an advisor to both the workforce and to management officials, ensuring that all persons are enabled to participate in the full range of employment opportunities.
“They don’t have to be a member of these specific groups, it can be anyone on permanent assignment that is able to give the program a two year commitment,” said Akwaowo. “Preferably someone who has leadership experience and is personable, but basically anyone who shows those leadership traits. They will have to go out and talk to people and manage people and expectations.”
There are currently six vacant SEPM positions available:
American Indian/ Alaskan Native Employment Program Manager (AIEPM)
Asian American/ Pacific Islander Employment Program Manager (AAEPM)
Hispanic Employment Program Manager (HEPM)
Black/ African American Employment Program Manager (BEPM)
Federal Women Program Manager (FWPM)
Disability Program Manager (DPM)
For information on becoming a SEPM or to submit ideas to promote equal employment contact the 14th Force Support Squadron, Affirmative Employment Program Manager office at 662-434-7302 or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.