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graphic with Shades of tan background. Primary image is a sphere colored orange. Dark brown colored headline: ASIAN AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER HERITAGE MONTH 2016. Dark colored subtext: EMBRACE DIFFERENCES- MANY CULTURES, ONE WALK.

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage (AAPI) Month and is the perfect opportunity for us to celebrate the vast contributions AAPI communities make to both our nation and as part of the Federal workforce that serves the American people.

In the first year of his administration, the President signed an executive order reestablishing the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) and the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs.

The President’s commitment to this fastest-growing racial group in our country has extended to every corner of his administration.

At OPM, I’m grateful that Kiran Ahuja, who for six years was the Executive Director of the WHIAAPI, now serves as our Chief of Staff. Michelle Lee serves as the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Chris Lu is the Deputy Secretary of Labor. Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy is the nation’s Surgeon General. Nani Coloretti serves as Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Deputy Secretary. And Esther Kia’aina is an Assistant Secretary at the Department of the Interior. These are just a few of the AAPI members who serve throughout the Administration.

As the President reminded us in his proclamation celebrating this month, AAPIs make up “one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse groups in America.” We should celebrate this diversity and also work to make sure that the Federal Government is providing the appropriate level and type of services to these varied communities.

“We are working across government to improve data collection to counter existing stereotypes and to shed light on the realities faced and resources needed by the AAPI community,” the President also said in his proclamation. 

As the AAPI population has grown, it has become increasingly clear that AAPI communities vary by immigration patterns, socioeconomic status, educational attainment, wealth accumulation, and much more.

In order to provide more accurate and meaningful information on the AAPI community to both policymakers and the public, Federal agencies are working to provide disaggregated AAPI data – that is data by individual ethnicities – whenever possible.

For example, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s American Housing Survey now includes AAPI subgroup data. The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Labor Force Characteristics by Race and Ethnicity report includes unemployment rates and other labor force estimates for seven Asian subgroups.

Here at OPM, our AAPI employee resource group (ERG) engages in a number of activities to support AAPI employees including brown bag luncheons, panels, other internal events for OPM staff, and shares vacancy announcements with its members. We have partnered with our AAPI ERG to encourage and promote participation in career development programs. And, we are looking forward to its upcoming AAPI Heritage Month event on Tuesday, May 24 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This wide-ranging panel discussion on diversity and the Federal workforce will feature some of the talented AAPI leaders in the Administration.

I encourage all Federal employees to celebrate the contributions our AAPI colleagues make every day to the Federal Government’s ability to fulfill its mission. And we should all encourage more AAPIs to join our Federal family.


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