United States Office of Personnel Management
OPM Director Hosts Meeting to Address Hispanic Employment Challenges in the Federal Government
Washington, DC - Kay Coles James, Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, has promised representatives of approximately two dozen Latino organizations that Hispanic-Americans and other minorities will thrive under the Bush Administration in federal employment and advancement opportunities.
On Wednesday, James hosted the first in a series of meetings that included small- and medium-sized Hispanic organizations, a move aimed at expanding the agency's outreach beyond larger organizations.
"President Bush has set a strong example by recruiting and appointing highly qualified Hispanics to serve in his Administration," said James. "Next year, there must be continued improvement in what federal agencies are doing to recruit, hire and retain Hispanics."
James, the President's principle advisor on federal human resources issues, requested suggestions regarding short-term steps that could be undertaken to increase the representation of Hispanics in the federal work force. Following this effort, James said institutional obstacles to Hispanic employment would be overcome, wherever they exist. Hispanics make up approximately 6 percent of the federal work force, compared to 11 percent in the civilian labor force.
Hispanics represent the fastest-growing minority community in America, said James, and the time is right to attract qualified minorities who can contribute their talents. She asked the organizations attending the meeting to help her "convince the Hispanic community that the doors are open and there is room for advancement." James also solicited attendees for e-mail suggestions on what can be done to foster interest about public service careers within the Hispanic community.
Dr. Emir Jose Macari, a member of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans, said after the meeting that he feels the Administration will deliver on its Hispanic employment pledge. "When it comes to 'people issues', President Bush has made it clear that the government will be compassionate. The President is familiar with the Hispanic culture, and I am confident that this (effort) is going to be implemented, precisely because George Bush feels so strongly."
Other areas on the table for review to increase Hispanic representation, said James, are expediting the hiring process, enhancing mentoring programs for job applicants and employees, and building a "nurturing environment" that will demonstrate to job seekers that the government is an employer of first choice.
OPM oversees the federal work force and provides the American public with up-to-date employment information. OPM also supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor?management relations and programs to improve work force performance.
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