FEW grows a relationship with USDA

Monday - 9/13/2010, 10:31am EDT

Sue Webster, national president, FEW

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

The Department of Agriculture has signed an agreement to boost opportunities for women in its workforce. It's a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the advocacy group Federally Employed Women, or FEW. The formal partnership is aimed at helping women get access to training and development opportunities. It also focuses on recruitment and retention.

Sue Webster, national president of FEW told Federal News Radio the MOU provides a win/win proposition for agencies and the advocacy group in that "it provides us an opportunity for dialogue and feedback which provides growth for both organizations."

Webster adds visibility is increased for FEW, both parties can act as resources for the other, the effort results in advancement of employees and members and that results in a boost in morale.

The drivers behind the MOU, said Webster, aren't new to USDA. There's been another MOU in place with the Food Safety division for a while. Webster said USDA is "somewhat of a leader and they've got a transformation culture, effort going on so they reached out to the affinity groups including FEW".

According to a FEW press release, the group already has "MOUs in place with the Department of Veterans Affairs; National Guard Bureau; U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Defense Distribution Center, New Cumberland, Pennsylvania; Defense Supply Center Philadelphia; the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of Personnel Management, along with other nongovernment organizations."

Webster said many agencies either do not have a Federal Womens Program manager or it's a collateral duty. "If you don't have an official Federal Womens Program in your workplace set up, women tend to not get the training that they need and not get the rotation opportunities that they need. So this is something we've been working on."

Overall, Webster was very upbeat about the announcement. "I believe that we're going to see some changes in that very soon and i'm very happy about that."

For more about Federally Employed Women from Janet Kopenhaver, the Washington representative, in an interview on the Federal Drive, click here.