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Virginia Tech, Virginia Department of Employment Dispute Resolution partner to increase availability of mediation services


BLACKSBURG, Va., Aug. 21, 2009 – The Office for Equity and Inclusion's Conflict Resolution Program at Virginia Tech and the Virginia Department of Employment Dispute Resolution (EDR) have collaborated to develop a mediation partnership.

The partnership was made possible through EDR’s statewide mediation program, which was designed to support the increased availability of workplace mediation services to state government agencies, institutions, and employees in the southwest and western regions of the commonwealth.

According to Heather Schofield, senior consultant with EDR, the majority of their mediators are in Richmond and are easily available for mediation cases in the Tidewater, Northern Virginia, and Richmond areas.

The partnership with Virginia Tech will provide state employees in the southwest and western regions mediation resources closer to their places of employment. Virginia Tech’s mediators will provide services for state employees within 120 miles of Blacksburg, with efforts being made to utilize Virginia Tech facilities in Blacksburg and also facilities used by the Commonwealth of Virginia within the designated service area such as:

Mediation is a confidential and voluntary process through which neutral third party mediators assist those in conflict with exploring their differences and developing solutions to their concerns. Schofield commented that the EDR program has a satisfaction rate of over 90 percent with past participants and an 84 percent agreement rate.

Virginia Tech initiated its internal conflict resolution program in 2006 and offers mediation to faculty members and staff who have workplace disputes or conflicts with other members of the Virginia Tech community. A team of 30 mediators were trained and have provided mediation services during the past several years. Virginia Tech is the first state agency to enter into a collaborate agreement with the EDR to increase the availability of workplace mediation services in a particular region of the state.

Members of the Virginia Tech community who wish to learn more about mediation and other options for resolving conflict should contact Dale Robinson, manager of Virginia Tech’s Conflict Resolution Program at (540) 231-1824.

Other state employees can request mediation by contacting the Department of Employment Dispute Resolution.