Working Together Towards Equality In The Workplace

History of Industry Liaison Groups


Industry Liaison Group (ILGs) is a concept, spawned by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance (OFCCP) programs in the early 1980′s to encourage open communication between industry and the OFCCP. The objectives have expanded since the ILG’s beginnings to include partnerships with other government agencies, like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Local ILGs are in every Department of Labor (DOL) region.

ILG Origination

In a memo dated January 29, 1982 from Ms. Ellen Shong (now Shong-Bergman), then the Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Department of Labor, encouraged enhanced communications between the federal contractor community and the agency, through the newly created concept of “Industry Liaison Groups” (ILGs).

The ILG concept was well received by the federal contractor community and together with the OFCCP; employers began forming Industry Liaison Groups across the country in the various Department of Labor regions. Both the public and private sector representatives were eager to put aside the adversarial relationship that had developed and characterized the way the enforcement agency and employers had interacted. Forming ILGs gave both parties a common platform to develop more positive partnerships to achieve their mutual affirmative action and equal opportunity goals.

The first ILG, was established in 1982, in what was then considered Department of Labor Region X (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington), and was joined by other newly formed ILGs across the country. ILGs are individual, separate and distinct organizations that are self-governed by their individual membership. ILGs may hold meetings monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually depending on members’ interests to discuss issues relevant to both the federal contractor and government enforcement agency personnel.

The Industry Liaison Group movement from its very beginning was so successful that a local ILG volunteered to host an annual ILG conference. The first Annual ILG Conference was held in 1983 in New Orleans. Every year since, the nation’s foremost affirmative action officers, equal opportunity directors, and diversity leaders, from business, industry and education have gathered to meet with government agency leadership from the OFCCP and EEOC to engage in cooperative discussions regarding regulations, compliance, best practices, and successful approaches to ensuring America’s work place is free from unlawful discrimination.

National Industry Liaison Group (NILG) Is Formed

The concept of formally setting up a National Industry Liaison Group organization had been fermenting, since the first Annual ILG Conference was held and ILG members from across the country had an opportunity to meet each other and discuss mutual goals of EEO and Affirmative Action.
The idea really took hold at the ILG Chairpersons meeting, held at the Annual ILG Conference in Puerto Rico, in April 1992. At this meeting, a resolution was adopted by the ILG Chairperson’s to:
1) Set up a non-profit National Industry Liaison Group, and;
2) Form a Steering Committee to begin the process of creating a National Industry Liaison Group. The main objectives are to: 1) improve communications between the OFCCP and the Industry Liaison Groups, and, 2) to enhance the quality and overall effectiveness of Industry Liaison Groups. The National ILG Steering Committee was comprised of the following persons:

Region II        Lois Baumerich             AT & T
Region VI       Charles K. Holland       Martin-Marietta Manned Space Systems
Region VII      Daniel Williams, Jr.       Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc.
Region X         Nancy Bergmann         Westinghouse Idaho Nuclear
Region IX        Shirley Koger                Litton Guidance & Control Systems

The National ILG Steering Committee took the Chairperson resolution seriously and worked to seek consensus on the purpose of a National Industry Liaison Group and to provide the local ILGs with a method of selecting the NILG representatives for their regions. Updates on the NILG’s progress in forming and status on current initiatives were provided during the Annual ILG Conferences.

National Industry Liaison Group Today

Since its beginning, the National ILG has continued improve and enhance its structure, purpose and membership, and has evolved to address new challenges and opportunities.
The NILG Board supports 61 ILGs, which are comprised of small, mid-size and large federal contractors and employers across the country. No other employer association has a broader base of constituents focused on EO/AA matters.

The NILG is the premier employer association on affirmative action and equal employment opportunity in the United States. The NILG is proud of the voluntary and unique partnership of public and private sector cooperation, it has been able to foster as an effective approach in dealing with important legal and regulatory issues regarding affirmative action and equal opportunity.

NILG Mission Statement

We promote Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity by working closely with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Employment Opportunity Commission, related administrative agencies and Local and Regional ILGs to:

  • Advocate the positions and viewpoints of our constituents
  • Comment and provide feedback on Regulatory and Legislative initiatives
  • Educate our constituents on developments regarding equal employment opportunity and affirmative action and related regulatory changes

We accomplish this mission by carrying out the activities outlined in our bylaws and by achieving targeted objectives.