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Director Archuleta Speaking on stage at an AAPI event 

Each May since 1977 we have celebrated the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to the American Story. During Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month we recognize the culture, traditions, history, and generations of AAPI community who have enriched America’s history and will be instrumental in its future success.

Members of the AAPI community were Chinese immigrants. It was their difficult manual labor that the transcontinental railroad was built in the late 1860;s Their efforts helped connect this great country, from the Pacific coast at San Francisco Bay to the existing Eastern U.S. rail network at Council Bluffs, Iowa, on the Missouri River.

Members of the AAPI community are federal employees and leaders of government. Christopher Lu is Deputy Secretary of Labor. Norman Mineta served as the Secretary of Transportation for President Clinton. Dr. Steven Chu served as President Obama’s Secretary of Energy.

Like America itself, the AAPI community draws strength from the diversity of its many distinct cultures.

The theme of this month is “I Am Beyond.” The phrase captures how Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander descent have always sought to excel beyond the challenges that have limited equal opportunity in America.

What a wonderful message for us all. Nearly five years ago President Obama established the White House Initiative on AAPIs. The Initiative addresses disparities in health care, education, and economic opportunity by ensuring Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders receive equal access to government programs and services.

In his proclamation commemorating AAPI Heritage Month this year, the President calls on us to “…recall our hard-fought progress, let us resolve to continue moving forward. Together, let us ensure the laws respect everyone, civil rights apply to everyone, and everyone who works hard and plays by the rules has a chance to get ahead.” You can read the President’s full proclamation on the White House's website.

As a former educator and community leader, I know the value of bringing together talented people with diverse ideas and perspectives to improve any organization. This is especially important for the Federal government. The complex and important work of government requires a diverse and inclusive workforce that is representative of the many important perspectives, talents, and backgrounds of our great country. 

One of my major challenges and a priority for me as OPM Director is to increase the diversity of the Federal workforce. When I talk about diversity, I don’t just mean ethnic and racial diversity. I want to make sure that people of all ages, people with disabilities and people from every corner of this great country have opportunities.

With diversity comes inclusion. We need an inclusive workforce to serve the American people.

At OPM, the Asian American Pacific Islander American Employee Resource Group works to increase awareness of the Asian American and Pacific Islander cultures as an integral part of our agency’s mission. It supports the diversity and inclusion goals of our agency and provides opportunities for mentorship, support and development within the OPM community.

We also continue to support the programs of the Federal Asian Pacific American Council. I was honored that FAPAC representatives attended my reception after I was sworn in as OPM Director in December 2013.

So during this month and all through the year, let us focus on bringing together talented people with diverse ideas and perspectives. Like the AAPI community which draws strength from the diversity of its many distinct cultures, we at OPM need to draw strength from the diversity we have within our agency.


Tonight is my major league baseball debut, and I’m excited to share the names of the five Federal employees I’ve asked to join me on Nationals field when I throw out the first pitch.

Each of these individuals was recognized by their peers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for representing the spirit of Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW). I hope you’ll join me in cheering them on when the Washington Nationals play the LA Dodgers this evening.

Mika J. Cross is a Human Capital Policy Strategist at USDA who specializes in work/life balance, diversity, inclusion and employee engagement. She was nominated by her colleague Jamie Edmunds, who tweeted that Mika is “inspiring and forward thinking” and that she “thrives in the face of adversity.”

Shannon Edwards is a Management Assistant in the Retirement Services division of OPM. She is committed to the accurate and timely processing of retirement claims for Federal retirees. She was nominated by Robert Gandy Sr. at USDA, who tweeted that Shannon “epitomizes #FedSpirit with her dedication” and that “she has #Natitude.”

Pamela Marstiller is a Management and Program Analyst at the FBI, where she takes great pride in knowing she’s been a “small, but integral part of National Security” for the past 19 years. Pamela was nominated by her niece, Amy Brodie, who tweeted “@OPMDirector, you need her by your side to throw out the first pitch.”

Justin Herman leads the government-wide SocialGov Community at GSA, uniting more than 450 government social media practitioners from more than 130 federal agencies into an objective-based problem-solver community. He was recognized by his colleague Tim Lowden, who tweeted that Justin is an “innovator, influencer, organizer, and devoted public servant,” and that his “curveball drops off the table.”

Carmen Garcia is the Executive Resources Coordinator and Pathways Program Officer at OPM. She is responsible for recruitment and staffing, classification, executive resources, change management, and advocating an environment of diversity and inclusion. She was recognized by her colleague Justin Johnson, who tweeted that Carmen is great at recruiting and has #FedSpirit.

I’ve really enjoyed seeing all of your recognition posts, tweets, and photos, and I hope you’ll continue thanking Federal employees all week long using #FedSpirit. And please follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook through @OPMDirector to watch my pitch this evening.

Play ball!

Photo of OPM Director Katherine Archuleta walking down a locker room hallway with a Nationals Jersey that reads: Archuleta #1

April 30 is America’s PrepareAthon! National Day of Action. OPM is a national partner in this  nationwide, community-based campaign to increase emergency preparedness and resilience.

As part of our support for the PrepareAthon, OPM will conduct a shelter-in-place exercise, designed to be activated during a tornado or dangerous wind and rain storm. The exercise gets us away from windows and other unsafe areas and may require us to go to the upper or lower parts of the building. It is also a part of our Dismissal and Closure Guide and is an important element of our toolkit for keeping employees safe while they are at work.

OPM will be one of many workplaces – as well as individual homes and communities – that will use tomorrow to practice for worst-case scenarios. These situations can be daunting. Our default often is not to think about such possibilities at all. But America’s PrepareAthon! emphasizes that we need to take the time to prepare now so that emergencies don’t catch us off guard.

There’s a lot to consider when preparing for an emergency. Take a moment to think about it. What’s your preparedness quotient? Do you pay attention to community alerts or warning systems? Do you have a preparedness plan? Have you talked about and practiced that plan with your family? Do you know what hazards are most likely to happen in your area?

Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count. These are just a few of the things to consider during tomorrow’s Day of Action.

Whether you’re participating in a drill, crafting a plan with your family, or attending a community awareness event, be sure to take a few moments tomorrow to get prepared. If you’re here at OPM Headquarters, take a minute to review Occupant Emergency Plan. And everyone should check out the resources on ready.gov.

As this past winter taught us, when we’re prepared we can stay safe and work together to continue serving the American people, no matter the circumstances.

 

 


I have some exciting news. A week from today I will be on the field at Nationals Park. And you can be too.  

On Tuesday, May 6th, the Washington Nationals will help us celebrate Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW) by hosting “Federal Employee Appreciation Night,” and they’ve invited me to throw out the first pitch. 

And the best part is that I’m bringing five Federal employees on to the field with me. 
This week and next, use hashtag #FEDSpirit on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to publicly recognize a Federal employee who represents the spirit of PSRW. We know there are inspirational, empowering, and exciting stories of Federal employees just waiting to be told. And we’re counting on you to share them.

On Monday, I’ll ask five Federal employees who represent the spirit of Public Service Recognition Week to join me on the field as I make my major league baseball debut. 

Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook through @OPMDirector for updates. I can’t wait to hear the #FEDSpirit stories you have to share.  

 A quick note: The invited Federal employees will be responsible for their transportation to the ballpark and for getting tickets to the game. 


Today General Services Administration Administrator Dan Tangherlini and I signed a Memorandum of Understanding that seals an important partnership that will give agencies a more efficient, more reliable, and more effective way to get the best available training and human capital resources to Federal employees.

Under this agreement, we are merging the breadth of GSA’s acquisition capabilities, tools and strategic sourcing experience with OPM’s expertise in human capital and training to form a more powerful Government solution. Our effort also is aligned with the President’s Management Agenda because it will achieve government-wide savings and efficiencies through Federal strategic sourcing. Through this effort, we will support Federal employees as they continue to provide excellent service to the American people.

This partnership acknowledges the changing Federal landscape. It recognizes OPM’s strategic goals, the current budgetary realities across government and the need to better support the mission of the Federal agencies that OPM serves.

One of my highest priorities as OPM Director is to support agencies in meeting their most challenging human capital needs, including the training and development of our Federal workforce. This partnership will help empower agencies to better accomplish that goal.

Since one of the roles of OPM is to assist the Federal agencies to develop their federal training and career development opportunities, this new partnership is just one way we are going to make that process more efficient, effective, and reliable for agencies. Federal employees must see a clear career path, and we must make sure agencies are providing training and mentoring. We must make sure that from resume to retirement, Federal employees have the processes in place to support their career development.

Through this agreement, OPM will be able to more effectively get the tools they need to fulfill their training and human capital needs. And ensuring that our workforce has what it needs to succeed is one of my highest priorities.


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