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Improving Hispanic Representation within Federal Service

July 20, 2012

Commentary

The Role of the Office of Personnel Management

By John Berry

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) knows that Hispanics are underrepresented in the Federal workforce. However, with an 8.1% Hispanic representation government wide, and Hispanic new hires doubling in the Senior Executive Service to 5.4%, we are moving in the right direction.

OPM has recognized and acknowledged the potential and talent Hispanics bring to the Federal Workforce. As we expand outreach and recruitment within the Hispanic community, we want to ensure everyone at our agencies receives equal opportunities to advance in their career. We have made it a point to engage community members and Hispanic leaders in the discourse, exchange of ideas, and decisions regarding the careers of Hispanics within the Federal Workforce. We formed the Hispanic Council on Federal Employment (HCFE) to help us identify barriers, and implement solutions to address the needs and concerns of the Hispanic community.

By bringing together leaders from across the nation, the HCFE provides me with quality insight on matters involving recruitment, hiring, and advancement of Hispanics within the Federal workforce. The HCFE is co-chaired by John Sepulveda, Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration for the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Liz Montoya, Chief of Staff for the Office of Personnel Management. As Director of OPM, I’ve made it a priority to reach all groups with the Federal government’s recruitment and retention strategies, including the Hispanic community, and to eliminate any obstacles to the employment of Hispanics at every level within the Federal civilian workforce.

During the HCFE’s May 4th, 2012 meeting, OPM’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion reported on the implementation of the HCFE’s recommendations. Among the steps taken, OPM is hard at work partnering with different organizations around the country, including Hispanic Serving Institutions and Hispanic Veterans organizations, to make Federal employment an attractive option for Hispanics. We are also upgrading technology to obtain more robust applicant flow data. This data can be used to help shape strategies which will ensure that the Federal government recruits broadly from all segments of society, including the Hispanic community.

We are making sure that the Federal workplace welcomes people – from all backgrounds – who want to use their talents to have a positive impact in our communities – and we’re making sure that people in the Hispanic community are aware of it. We remain committed to removing any challenges to the employment and advancement of Hispanics in the Federal workforce and will continue working with the HCFE to implement the vision outlined in President Obama’s Executive Order; Establishing a Coordinated Government-Wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce.

As the President has said, “We are at our best when we draw on the talents of all parts of our society,” and the Hispanic community is key to ensuring our nation’s continued success.

John Berry is the Federal Government’s Chief People Person. As the Director of the United States Office of Personnel Management, he is responsible for recruiting, hiring, and setting benefits policies for 1.9 million Federal civilian employees. He can be reached through Julian Alcazar at Julian.Alcazar@opm.gov.

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