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ASPER - A Case Study

ASPER, a small, specialized organization, occupies

a very influential position within the Department but

had no minority professionals as of July 7, 1971.


this reason, the Task Force decided to make a case study

of the office by interviewing all of its employees.

During the interviews, conducted between March 15 and

June 8, 1971, employees were asked their impressions of

ASPER's past and present recruitment policy for minori

ties, and to present ideas for a more effective policy.

Clerical employees were also asked about the amount of

training opportunities available to them.

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mote the welfare of all workers", and it serves as "the .

focal point of responsibility for initiating policy plan

ning and research and for forwarding recommendations to

the Secretary

cretary 1/. The office began operations with a

staff of several people in 1957 as the Office of Research

and Development under then Deputy Assistant Secretary

Charles Stewart.

In 1963, it became the Office of Policy,

Planning and Research with Daniel P. Moynihan as the Dir


At that time, the staff had only about five pro

fessionals and did not grow in size significantly until

1969 when this number increased from approximately ten to

twenty-two and the office assumed its present name.


should be noted that most of this recruitment was done in

ternally but that no affirmative action was taken to

identify qualified and interested minorities.

1/ United States Government Organization Manual ; 1969-70, Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Service, GSA, p. 299.


Recruitment Considerations

Two major constraints in recruiting for ASPER are

1) the smallness of the office which limits the number

of available new slots, and 2) the lack of entry-level

professional positions, GS 5

GS 5 - 9.

Since the expansion

in 1969, ASPER has recruited only five professionals

and now has a total of twenty-five.

Six professionals

have left the organization in the past year but three

of them retired, and no present employee is due to re

tire in the near future.

In addition, very few people

have left ASPER over the years to work elsewhere.

The office, however, is not limited in its recruit

ment effort by the need for any specific background.

Present employees represent a diversity of backgrounds,

which include law, teaching and economics.

The type of

work done in ASPER requires the ability to write, to be

creative and to work without supervision, but does not

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statement, Standard Form 171, and 4) a personal inter

view by at least one staff member.


Summary of Interviews

The Task Force encountered a wide range of reactions

to ASPER'S EEO Action Plan and to the subject of minority

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original Action Plan, submitted in February of 1971, and

not much happier with the revised plan of April, 1971.

The revised plan reserves "either one or two positions

for minority persons" out of a total of seven, but does

not specify whether these reserved positions are profes

sional or nonprofessional.

This distinction is important

because five of ASPER'S nine secretaries were minorities

as of July 7, 1971, so that reserving a nonprofessional

position for a minority would be unnecessary for EEO pur


Others regarded the new plan as a step in the right

direction and felt that ASPER would begin to hire minor

ity professionals in the near future.

Even though the

Action Plan does not specifically set aside a professional position for a minority, 2 an unsuccessful attempt was

made to fill a position in the Office of Evaluation with

a minority before the end of fiscal year 1971.

The am

biguity with regards to filling this professional posi

tion is symptomatic of the entire plan (see Appendix D-1).


"We are prepared to reserve one professional position to be filled by a minority employee before the end of this fiscal year". FY •71 EEO Action Plan for ASPER, P.:2.

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