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We all love to celebrate the Fourth of July. It is, after all, the birthday of our country. We grill, watch fireworks, and spend quality time with family and friends – what isn’t there to love?

But as we celebrate the holiday and the gift of independence that our Founding Fathers gave us, I want to reflect for a moment on the gifts Americans have given us throughout history and continue to gift us every day.

Every generation, individuals have risen to the challenge to make real and meaningful contributions to society, from our revolutionary ancestors to modern space pioneers. They were at the forefront of the sciences, arts, and literature. They challenged the status quo. They fought for a more equitable world. 

At 25, Booker T. Washington became the first leader of the Tuskegee Institute.

At 32, Dolores Huerta co-founded the National Farm Workers association, predecessor to the United Farm Workers.

At 25, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. 

Image with 6 famous Americans with red overlay and white text that says  What will you give America?

Our history is filled with Americans rising to meet our nation’s challenges. And as Director of the Office of Personnel Management, I’m fortunate enough to see such incredible contributions being made throughout our Federal workforce.

These contributions are not limited to revolutionary eras or times of great hardship. They are not limited to age or ethnicity or gender or orientation. They are what we’ve come to expect throughout history. And they are what we get from our Federal employees as they work hard every day to serve the American people. Our Federal family continues to strive to fulfill our Founding Father’s vision and to set the bar for the next generation. They do it with the giving spirit that will motivate generations to come.

I know I will personally take time this weekend to honor the gifts of not only the great Americans who founded this nation, but also of those who continue to make our nation better today. I hope you will do the same.

Happy Independence Day.



It’s no secret that we need more millennials in the Federal government.  Currently only 7% of the workforce is under the age of 30. And this sought-after demographic is a constant topic of the national conversation – their habits, their vices, their skills. But instead of talking about them, I want to talk to them.

So millennials, here’s what I want you to know.

We have a place for you in the Federal government. You tell us you want a job that matters, that you want to work for organizations that make a difference. You want to be in a place that encourages and rewards innovative thinking. You want to be able to develop your skills. And, most of all, you care about public service and believe that government can make a difference.

We know we can’t offer all the perks that the private sector does. We don’t have endless free food, company cars to get you to work or huge signing bonuses. But we can offer you the chance to develop, to lead, and to make a difference in people’s lives.

In the Federal government, you can have the job you dreamed of as a child. You can be a firefighter, an astronaut, or a doctor.  You can help the homeless, care for our veterans, or meet with foreign dignitaries. You can help a budding entrepreneur start a small business, a student be the first in her family to go to college, or an inventor get his first patent. You can do almost anything in the Federal government.

I know you want a better hiring process. We’re working hard to make our job announcements easier to understand. We’re expanding our outreach to job seekers by increasing our use of technology to recruit, especially social media. And we’re launching a new applicant website this summer that will make one-stop shopping possible. It will have resources ranging from how to tailor your resume for a job with government to how to apply to the Pathways Program, all in one place.

I know you may not want to commit for the long term. You want to try new things and grow in a variety of jobs. I admire that and I respect that. So I am asking you to give us a try, to give Federal service a few years. We need your energy. We need your knowledge. We need your innovation.

Try us out. Check out the Pathways and Recent Graduates Programs. Apply to be a Presidential Management Fellow.  Join the Federal family and see if we’re a fit. We have a lot of important work we can do together.

 


I was honored to speak at the White House Summit on Working Families. The conference, co-hosted by the Department of Labor and the Center for American Progress, brought together business and labor leaders, economists, policy makers, advocates and everyday citizens to discuss policy solutions that can make a real difference in the lives of working families and ensure America’s global competitiveness in the coming decades.

At the conference, President Obama unveiled his memorandum designed to enhance workplace flexibilities and work-life programs. The President also directed OPM to work with agencies to promote the use of  such programs, ranging from telework to alternative work schedules to leave programs. OPM will be responsible for assessing agency programs, educating employees and their managers, and promoting a culture that encourages and supports these flexibilities.

Director Archuleta (far right) sits on the panel with four other members for Working Families.

I participated in a panel called the Structure of the Workplace. It focused on the importance of having workplace flexibilities and what they mean to employees. Here’s just one example: When employees know that their boss will bend over backwards to accommodate them when a family emergency comes up, then they will be willing to go the extra mile when a critical situation arises at work. The result? Happier and more productive employees. That’s the culture we need.

With the President’s encouragement and through our partnership with the agencies, we will work to remove barriers that exist in fostering that culture. And every Federal employee will be an integral part of making it happen. 


Feds Feed Families has begun! Since 2009, Federal employees have joined together in the summer months to stock food pantries in communities across the country.

OPM founded the Federal food drive program, in response to President Obama’s call for all Americans to contribute to the nation’s economic recovery by serving their communities. The Feds Feed Families program is continuing to provide assistance to families in need under the leadership of the Department of Agriculture.

In its inaugural year, Feds Feed Families collected 1 million pounds of food that went to local food pantries. Each year since, we’ve bested the previous year’s total, and last year we raised an incredible 8.9 million pounds of food and non-perishable items.  Over the past four years, together we have donated 15 million pounds. Despite the challenges we’ve all faced, the Federal family continues to show its generosity and willingness to come together and help those in need.

It’s time to do it again. The summer months are crucial. As need increases, particularly because children are out of school and cannot count on their daily school lunches, donations decrease. Our neighbors need our help.

The inter-agency collaborative effort and volunteer nature of Feds Feed Families means the program runs on a minimal budget. Here at OPM we hold regular events, offer simple recognition to the most generous employee donors and even engage in friendly competition between our offices to keep the food coming in. We’re hoping to best our own internal record of 71,152 pounds of food. I know we can do it.

Let’s continue to fill our community pantries here in DC and around the country. As a Federal family, we have made true and lasting impacts. Together we can do even more. 

Tower of Cans against OPM's Building


On May 30, 2014, President Obama called on Americans from all walks of life to get involved in My Brother’s Keeper by signing a pledge to become long-term mentors to young people. The value of mentorship is clear – sustained and direct mentoring relationships play a vital role in the lives of young people. The President firmly believes that it is important for all children to have caring adults engaged in their lives. Mentoring a young person can make a great difference.

The My Brother’s Keeper Taskforce was established on February 27 when the President issued a Memorandum designed to “Create and Expand Ladders of Opportunity for Boys and Young Men of Color.” The taskforce’s 90-Day Report to the President prominently featured the role of mentoring.



As the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, I know how incredibly engaged and involved Federal employees are in our communities. From “Feds Feed Families” to the “Combined Federal Campaign,” you demonstrate every day that you are not only the backbone of the Federal government, but also leaders.

This week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Federal employees at a training program hosted by the Society of American Indian Government Employees (SAIGE) in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  As I told our colleagues at SAIGE, Federal workers have a noble purpose - the work that you do every day is purpose driven. Unlike private industry, it’s not about the bottom line. It’s about the top line of public service.

As I travel around the country speaking with Federal employees, I am struck by that commitment to service. From Washington, D.C. to Albuquerque, to Brownsville, Tex. to Boyers, Pa., Federal employees show up to work every day and make a difference in the lives of their fellow Americans.

As we approach Father’s Day on Sunday, I urge all of you to once again lead by example and embrace the President’s call to mentor young people. I know that many of you are already mentors in your community. For others, this may be just the motivation you need to get out there and make a difference in a young person’s life.

Please visit the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper website and sign the pledge to be a mentor today!

And Happy Father’s Day!

 

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