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Our Director Director's Blog

Posts By: Katherine Archuleta

During my confirmation hearing last summer, I promised to assess the state of Information Technology at OPM and develop a strategic IT plan within 100 days of being sworn in. I am pleased to share that plan with you today.

The Strategic IT Plan addresses our technology needs across the agency and aims to improve many of the factors that directly impact our IT, including efficiency, accountability, and innovation. It’s organized around the concept of an “HR lifecycle IT framework.” This builds upon OPM’s strategic workforce planning for the hiring process and continues throughout an employee’s career in Federal service, culminating in retirement.

IT is really about a bigger picture. We know that our IT systems impact how we do every aspect of our work. That is why in order to better serve the American people, Federal employees, and Federal agencies, my team and I will also use the HR lifecycle IT framework to help make government human resources smarter and more effective.

Here’s a look at our HR lifecycle framework: 

Graphic of the HR lifecycle framework. Header reads: Strategy, Acquire, Sustain, and Separate. 3 tier chart, Top tier: Business Initiatives, Middle tier: Enterprise Initiatives, Bottom tier: Enabling Initiatives.

 
Our goal is to be able to:

  • Manage, analyze, and share data easily
  • Leverage efficiencies
  • Support business processes
  • Enable better decision-making

There are a lot of pieces to this plan, some of which you will see up close – such as USAJOBS and our retirement tools. Other aspects will take place behind the scenes. Either way, we’ll be using the same strategy of making foundational improvements and working through initiatives -  from IT leadership to Data Analytics to Information Security. That will allow us to improve IT across the board. In the end, our goal is to provide better, faster service in every way possible.

There’s a lot more to this plan and I’m sure we’ll have more to share in the coming months as we put it into action. If you’d like to read the plan in its entirety, you can find it on OPM’s website (http://www.opm.gov/about-us/budget-performance/strategic-plans/strategic-it-plan.pdf).

This Strategic IT Plan is another step in OPM’s mission to better recruit, retain and honor a world-class Federal workforce.


During a trip to San Antonio this week, I got to know a group of amazing veterans who, after serving their country valiantly, have decided to continue to serve the American people by transitioning into a civilian position with the Federal government.

I also was able to visit some cutting edge facilities in San Antonio that help our returning heroes successfully return to civilian life.

I toured the Center for the Intrepid. The CFI helps service members with severe injuries and amputations maximize their ability to lead full and productive lives.  They do truly crucial work, assisting not only these service members but also their families and support systems.

I also had the chance to visit the Warrior Family Support Center. The center provides a friendly, comfortable and safe environment for wounded warriors and their families to connect with other military members, to get emotional, educational and social support that can help them better make the transition to civilian life.

I was so impressed by the teams at these centers and am thankful that we have them working to help our injured service members.

One of the most memorable moments for me was my time with five transitioning service members at Ft. Sam Houston.

Sergeant Rafael Acosta, Staff Sergeant David Merchant, Master Sergeant Aileen Philips, Specialist Jared Werner, and Specialist Miriam Martin together have given more than 67 years of service to their country in the Army and the Marines. They are five examples of the great men and women who are beginning the transition from military service to civilian service. It is a testament to their commitment to service that they will continue to work for their country by joining the Federal workforce.

They are among a growing number of veterans who are doing that. Preliminary data for fiscal year 2013 shows that more than 30 percent of new federal hires will be veterans. That’s a statistic I’m incredibly proud of and that I know can and will continue to grow.

Fedshirevets.gov is a great resource for veterans who are looking to enter the civilian federal service. There is also a special veterans section on USAJOBS.

We should all honor the incredible work that all our service men and women do for us each day. And we are equally honored that when it’s time for these brave warriors to take the next step in their careers, they choose to join the civilian Federal workforce.


Each year, the President designates March as National Women’s History Month as one way that Americans in schools, workplaces and local communities can take the time to reflect on the accomplishments and legacies of women who have shaped our great country’s history.

This year’s theme is “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage and Commitment.”

Like many of you, when I see those words, I think of my mother, I think of my sister, and I think of my daughter, all strong and courageous women in my life.

The theme of character, courage and commitment honors the extraordinary and often unrecognized determination of the tenacity of women. For generations, often facing social convention and legal constraints, women have persevered in their efforts to achieve their full potential.

This month, the National Women’s History Project has named 12 honorees whose lives and achievements span centuries and cultural and ethnic backgrounds. 

Among the honorees are three women who are – or were – Federal employees. They are examples of the legions of women who go to work for the American people each and every day.

Frances Oldham Kelsey was the Food and Drug Administration Pharmacologist who refused to approve thalidomide, a drug that was later proved to cause severe birth defects.  Dr. Kelsey’s research led Congress to pass the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act greatly strengthening the agency’s drug regulations. Dr. Kelsey continued her work at the FDA until her retirement in 2005 at age 91.

Ann Lewis has been a lifelong women’s rights organizer and women’s history advocate. She served as White House Communications Director under President Clinton. As a national commentator on public policy, she champions the recognition of women’s history.

Lisa Taylor is a civil rights attorney for the Department of Justice where she has enforced the rights of HIV victims, autistic children, and educational opportunities for minority students. She was in Naval ROTC as a student and served as an officer aboard the USS Tarawa, where she developed the ship’s first program to address sexual harassment.

I salute all of these women. And I want to thank all the women here at OPM for the job they do each and every day to serve this agency and the American people.

In his Women’s History Month proclamation, President Obama calls on all of us to also “celebrate those who make progress in our time. Let us remember that when women succeed, America succeeds.” 

I hope we all take time out of our busy lives this month to remember the women who have been important in our lives. And still are.

 

 

 


Saturday I went to Philadelphia to get the word out about the approaching deadline for people to enroll in the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces. The push is on to make sure that everyone who is eligible for health insurance under the new health law has the information and help they need to enroll by March 31.

I visited with people attending a four-hour event at Congreso de Latinos Unidos where representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services were on hand to answer questions and assist people in the enrollment process.

I told the community residents a little bit about my family’s health care story and about how necessary it is to have health coverage, regardless of what age you are.

My daughter Graciela was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 19. Now healthy, she still has a lifetime of tests and need for medical care ahead of her. The Affordable Care Act ensures that she won’t ever be denied coverage for that care. My older brother Bob is a laborer. He works whenever he can get a job, so he wasn’t able to get health insurance. With the Affordable Care Act, he has been able to sign up for a plan through healthcare.gov and he no longer has to worry about the possibility of getting sick. My younger brother Dan is a contractor. He had health insurance but it was prohibitively expensive – he spent most of his paycheck just on the cost. With the exchanges he was able to get a plan that is much more affordable and still provides excellent coverage.

My family’s story is not that unusual. It’s the same story that families all across America could tell. And it’s why the Affordable Care Act is so important.

The President wants to make sure that the word is getting out to the Hispanic community, which has a higher insurance rates that most. Nearly 25 percent of Hispanics are uninsured.

That’s a statistic that must change. And because of the Affordable Care Act it will.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, Americans can get quality healthcare for an affordable cost. They can be sure that they will have coverage to treat the accidents and unexpected illnesses that may come their way. And they can know that they can’t be denied coverage because they’ve been sick.

My trip to Philadelphia today is the first of several I will be making between now and March 31, the deadline to enroll. We all need to spread the word: Enroll Now!


There are only 33 days left for Americans to sign up for a health plan in the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces.

We held an exciting event here at OPM this week designed to help parents of young adults about to turn 26 or who are already older than that.

Why that age group? Because people reaching that age have some decisions to make. Under the Affordable Care Act, children can stay on their parent’s health insurance plans until they turn 26.

 But after that, if these young folks are not insured through their jobs, they need to make sure they sign up for a health plan through the ACA Marketplaces.

We parents know it is not always easy to convince our children to do anything. So the OPM health care team organized this event to give parents some tips on how to counsel their children on the importance of having health insurance. They gave OPM employees some pointers on how their children can go to Healthcare.gov and find all the information they need about health plans, their costs and how to enroll.

Young people often believe they are invincible and don’t have to worry about being insured Take it from me, the mother of a young woman, Graciela, who was diagnosed with cancer at age 19. Graciela is well now but she will need health care for the rest of her life. And the Affordable Care Act ensures that no insurance company can refuse to cover her because she has a pre-existing condition.

So tell your children my daughter’s story, a story that is repeated in families across this country. Convince them to sign up. And then share your experience on my Facebook page and on Twitter. How you convinced your young person to enroll in a health plan may help another parent who is still trying to make the case to their child.

And remember, the deadline to sign up for this year is March 31. Don’t let it slip by!


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