START A MAPS CHAPTER OR STAFF ASSOCIATION AT YOUR PUBLIC INSTITUTION
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) [also known as Affinity Groups or VEOs] are a way to cultivate a supportive, welcoming, inclusive and equitable work environment in your Federal, State or local agency, department, or other or public institution.
They serve as a critical link between employees and senior management, connecting a diverse array of backgrounds, beliefs, and experiences to each Department’s diversity managers, Human Capital staff, and key decision-makers. They support the personal growth and professional development of their members and they help develop programs and learning opportunities not only for themselves but for the rest of the workforce.
ERGs have the pulse of their community and their constituents and work with management to develop and execute recommendations to solve mission-related problems before they become large-scale issues. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) maintains resources to guide Federal Department and Agency sponsorship of ERGs (Guidance for Agency-Specific Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plans), with many State and local government institutions offering similar support to groups.
There are dozens of formal ERGs in each of the fifteen Federal Departments, and in many of the hundreds of independent Agencies, Administrations, and Commissions. These often represent employees and contractors of a protected group, gender, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, race, faith, or special interest.
There is now a growing momentum for Muslim professionals to be similarly represented across government offices. Muslim public servants form such groups to foster community, support professional networking and career development, contribute to their department’s diversity and inclusion objectives, and increase employee morale, retention and productivity.
MAPS is the first national non-profit that aims to support, reinforce, and sustain these important staff associations, linking them through a national network alongside other closely related public service organizations.
Goals of local Muslim ERGs include:
Association and Assembly:
MAPS chapter ERGs aim to Increase Muslim employees’ understanding of the Federal work environment, and help orient new Muslim employees to their institution and make them feel welcome. Formalizing informal communities or staff associations as ERGs is the best way to conduct outreach to current and newly hired employees across your department or agency, and to raise awareness of the constituent community’s existence, organize and publicize events, and directly support the needs and professional growth of your colleagues.
Advocacy and Accommodation:
MAPS chapter ERGs aim to ensure that Muslim employees can fulfill their religious obligations in a practical manner, and in a way that does not conflict with their work. Members of MAPS also maintain a firm commitment to a Department that allows employees to openly manifest their religious belief through practice, worship and observance either alone or in community with others.
Diversity and Inclusion:
In line with the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Guidance for Agency-Specific Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plans, in partnership with individual Departmental Offices of Human Resource Management and Learning and Diversity Officers where applicable, as well as other employee groups, MAPS chapter ERGs will support local institutional efforts to help foster a climate of diversity, inclusion, and respect throughout the Department. MAPS Chapter ERGs also aim to contribute to the diversity goals of each Federal, State or local department and agency, helping to maintain work environments free of discrimination, prejudice, and bias.
Professional and Social Development:
MAPS Chapter ERGs shall also strive to promote the professional development of its members, and to provide a support network for their careers. Formalizing an association also serves as a catalyst for community building and development among fellow department or agency employees, including as a resource for social events, personal networking and bolstering workplace morale.
MAPS Members may also serve as MAPS Institutional Representatives at their Federal, State or local agencies. Representatives serve as liaisons between our national network and your institution, and as a point of contact for colleagues interested in building informal communities until formal MAPS Chapters become viable.
Contact MAPS National to learn more, set up a call with our Outreach Committee, connect with representatives of established Chapters and Muslim ERGs, or receive documentation and resources to get you started.