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History of Affirmative Action: Affirmative action is a term that was first used in 1961 in Executive Order 10925 by President Kennedy. The order, in part, stated, "the contractor will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, creed, color, or national origin. The contractor will take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin. Such action shall include, but not be limited to, the following: employment, upgrading, demotion or transfer; recruitment or recruitment advertising; layoff or termination; rates of pay or other forms of compensation; and selection for training, including apprenticeship."

President Johnson's 1965 Executive Order 11246, as amended, stated in part, "each Government contractor with 50 or more employees and $50,000 or more in government contracts is required to develop a written affirmative action program (AAP) for each of its establishments." President Johnson amended the order in 1967 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, as well as require that federal contractors make good-faith efforts to expand employment opportunities for women and minorities.

In 1970, under President Nixon, the Labor Department, issued Order No.4, authorizing flexible goals and timetables to correct "underutilization" of minorities by all federal contractors. This order was revised in 1971 to include women.

Difference between Affirmative Action, EEO, and OFCCP: Affirmative Action refers to the legally mandated policies created to provide equal opportunity in employment for all qualified persons and to prohibit discrimination in employment based on race, creed, color, national origin or sex. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for identifying and eliminating discrimination in the workplace. The Office of Federal Compliance (OFCCP) within the Department of Labor is charged with implementing Executive Order #11246, which prohibits employment discrimination and established affirmative action requirements for federal contractors and subcontractors.

Difference between Affirmative Action and managing diversity: Affirmative Action is a legally mandated program, while managing diversity is not. Managing diversity is a process used by businesses to fully utilize their most important capital, employees. Managing diversity deals with recognizing and leveraging the differences each of bring to the workplace. It also is about creating an environment that builds on those differences and manages them in a way that positively contributes to the success of the organization.

Helpful Web sites

National Technical Diversity-Related Organizations

  • (National Society of Black Engineers)
  • (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers)
  • (Society of Women Engineers)
  • (Women in Technology, Inc.)
  • (National Society of Hispanic MBA's)
  • (National Black MBA Association)
  • (Institute for Women and Technology)
  • (Mexican American Engineers and Scientists)
  • (American Indian Sciences and Engineering Society)
  • (Black Data Processor Association)
  • (Society Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans)
  • (National Association of Asian Professionals)
  • (Asian Women in Business)
  • General Diversity Links

  • (diversity organization links)
  • (diversity organization links)
  • (African American diversity links by city)
  • (Latino diversity links by city)
  • (diversity organization links)
  • Community Associations

  • (National African American Community-Based Organization)
  • (League of United Latin American Citizens)
  • (Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement)
  • (National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering)
  • (United Negro College Fund)
  • (Hispanic Scholarship Foundation)
  • (American Association of People with Disabilities)
  • (National Organization on disabilities)
  • List of Colleges and Universities with Significant Minority Populations

  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU's)
  • Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU's)
  • American Indian Higher Education Consortium of Colleges
  • National Technical Institute for the Deaf
  • Diversity Calendar


  • About the Leaders' Toolkit on Diversity and Inclusion is now the official owner and distributor of the Leaders' Toolkit on Diversity.© Copyright The GilDeane Group, Inc., 2016. All Rights Reserved. For information, please contact The GilDeane Group, Phone 206-362-0336, Email:

    Web-based Leaders' Toolkit was originally developed by Technology Workforce Partners, a consortium of high technology companies that worked collaboratively on diversity issues in the workplace from 1995-2005.

    This toolkit is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace legal, compliance, or other professional advice. assumes no liability for the use of this toolkit.