National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Equal Employment Opportunity Program Could Be Improved

FPCD-75-107: Published: Apr 16, 1975. Publicly Released: Apr 16, 1975.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) affirmative action plans, focusing on: (1) hiring and promotion practices; (2) training and upward mobility programs; and (3) its discrimination complaint system.

GAO noted that: (1) minorities composed 4.3 percent of NASA's total professional employees and 8.8 percent of the nonprofessional employees; (2) women composed 5.6 percent of the professional and 35.5 percent of the nonprofessional employees; (3) 17 percent of the employees hired during fiscal years 1971-74 were minorities and 50 percent were females; (4) on February 2, 1974, NASA approved a recruiting plan designed to increase hiring of minority and women professionals; (5) the percentage of minorities and females in the Cooperative Education Program increased from 12.2 and 9.4 percent, respectively, in June 1972, to 22 and 16.1 percent, respectively, at the end of fiscal year 1974; (6) in March 1974, NASA implemented a National Aerospace Fellowship Program to encourage members of minority groups and women to undertake professional careers in scientific and engineering fields; (7) among the minority and female hiring problems facing NASA is the lack of minorities and females in the scientific and engineering fields; (8) at GAO's request, the Civil Service Commission compared minority and female employment at seven NASA locations with that of other agencies located in the same geographic areas; (9) as of February 28, 1974, NASA had the lowest percentage of minorities in all 14 occupations and the lowest percentage of females in 7 occupations; (10) the amount of training requested and received by minorities and females varied from one installation to another; (11) during fiscal years 1971-74, the percentage of promotions received by minorities and females NASA-wide was generally greater than the percentage of minorities and females in the NASA work force; (12) GAO did not conclude whether NASA's upward mobility program had been successful, since the program had only been partially operative for a short time at most NASA installations; (13) during fiscal years 1971-1974, 6.1 and 27.9 percent of the total number of NASA workforce separations were minorities and females, respectively; (14) except for failing to meet the time limit on processing formal complaints, NASA headquarters and field centers were processing discrimination complaints in accordance with Civil Service Commission (CSC) guidelines; (15) NASA employees expressed concerns about the complaint system; (16) the accomplishment section of NASA's plan showed that not all affirmative action items were accounted for or accomplished; and (17) NASA headquarters and centers did not provide Equal Employment Opportunity program training or evaluations to all managers and supervisors.

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