Assistant Administrator, Office of Outreach, Employee Education and Training (OOEET)
Michael Watts joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture in May 2003 and has been an FSIS Assistant Administrator for the Office of Outreach, Employee Education and Training (OOEET) since October 2012. His current role complements a career spent cultivating his expertise in civil rights, diversity management and training development and delivery. As Assistant Administrator of OOEET, his mission is to provide executive leadership and oversight for training and developing the FSIS workforce.
Mr. Watts is responsible for ensuring that employees have the critical skills and training they need to support the Agency mission and to be successful. In addition, he focuses on identifying and reducing skill gaps in the workforce to ensure that the Agency has a talented cadre of professionals who are ready, willing and able to protect the American public from foodborne illnesses.
From May 2007 to October 2012, Mr. Watts led civil rights initiatives in the Department from two roles within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights. He held the positions of Civil Rights Director for the Department and Director of the Office of Compliance, Policy, Training and Cultural Transformation.
Before joining USDA, Mr. Watts was the State of Minnesota’s Assistant Commissioner of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, an executive position in the Department of Employee Relations, a cabinet-level office that reported to the Governor. Mr. Watts began his career in the military, where he developed a solid foundation of experience in training management. After leaving the military and completing law school, he worked as Equal Employment Opportunity Manager for the Department of Veterans Affairs – Birmingham VA Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama.
Mr. Watts has a keen interest in mediation and dispute resolution, which led him to earn his J.D. at the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Watts received his Masters’ Degree at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri in Administration of Justice and Human Relations. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Criminal Justice. He is also a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College, the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Senior Managers in Government Course.