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Dark brown text says Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month in all caps is at the top of the picture. Under is a short centered line and the words United Our Voices By Speaking Together. The background is a pattern with various oranges, from pale orange to a bright orange. OPM.gov is in the corner in white text.

By Steve Shih, Deputy Associate Director for Senior Executive Services and Performance Management

Each May, the Federal Government recognizes Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month – an opportunity to honor those Americans who can trace their ancestry to a multitude of countries in Asia, Hawaii and the Pacific Island territories, and for us to celebrate those who contribute in so many ways to the success of our Nation.  President Donald J. Trump recently issued a Proclamation recognizing May as AAPI Heritage Month, and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), along with other Federal agencies, join President Trump in celebrating the achievements and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

This special observance originated in June 1977, when Representatives Frank Horton of New York and Norman Mineta of California called upon the President to proclaim the first 10 days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week.  In October 1978, President Jimmy Carter expanded the observance as an annual celebration, and 12 years later President George H.W. Bush extended the week-long celebration to a month.  The official designation of May as Asian American and Pacific American Heritage Month was signed into law in 1992.  The month of May was chosen to observe Asian and Pacific Americans for a number of reasons, including to commemorate the first Japanese who came to the country in May of 1843, and to mark the May 1869 completion of the Transcontinental Railroad which involved the labor of many Chinese immigrants.

The AAPI community is made up of culturally and linguistically-diverse people, representing populations from many countries and islands.  The diversity of AAPIs – and the value of diversity in general to the excellence of our Nation – are reflected in the theme for this year’s celebration, “Unite Our Voices by Speaking Together.”  The theme speaks not only to the variety of AAPI experiences in the United States but encourages all Americans to join together to share our important individual experiences and to come together to make our Nation great.

Throughout the history of our country, our citizens from the AAPI community have made significant contributions exemplifying American values of hard work and perseverance.  Members of the AAPI community have excelled in so many patriotic and leading ways, including as artists; authors; athletes; teachers; scientists; doctors; engineers; lawyers; government leaders; and brave members of our Armed Forces.

OPM continues our commitment to helping the Federal Government achieve a strong and united workforce – a world-class workforce – to serve the American people.  AAPI Heritage Month reminds us we can best solve the complex and historic challenges of our time by solving them together; when we join our individual strengths, we unify and magnify our nation’s effectiveness. 

For information on Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, please visit: http://asianpacificheritage.gov/ and http://asianpacificheritage.gov/about/.

 


By Steve Shih, Deputy Associate Director for Senior Executive Services and Performance Management

In the Federal Government, we emphasize the importance of work-life flexibilities for attracting, empowering, and retaining a talented and productive workforce. Earlier this month – in celebration of National Work and Family Month – Acting Director Cobert issued a memo on the progress we’ve made across government to improve our use of work-life flexibilities. From telework to employee assistance programs to free preventive health programs, there are many resources and tools available to employees to help them succeed in their work and their personal lives.

I’m thrilled to serve as a senior executive where my job includes leading work-life policy for the Federal Government. I am able to model work-life integration with my own team and support the well being of my colleagues. I want to share some of the strategies I have found successful. Below are three ways agencies, leaders, and employees can support and practice work-life success.

1. Act strategically. 

Take a strategic approach to achieving excellence in your work and personal lives. Start by figuring out where you want to end up. Then create a personal plan that lays out your goals – from individual to family to professional. Finally, identify the milestones you want to accomplish. 

Once you’ve developed your plan, act purposefully to implement it, regularly measure your progress, and adjust your plan if necessary. Make sure to involve important people in your life to help you along the way and keep you accountable for following your plan. 

A free, online training course is available for Federal employees through OPM’s “Manager’s Corner” that teaches these concepts and strategies.

 2. Engage others and communicate.

Your success in balancing work and life priorities will often depend on the support you receive from your supervisor and your colleagues. Supervisors should strive to be open to their employees’ needs, goals, ideas, and concerns and provide a safe, trusting environment where employees are comfortable having candid conversations. Leaders should share information on work-life flexibilities and resources available in their agencies. Employees should be mindful of the opportunities that exist and their responsibility to inform their supervisors of their needs and priorities.  They should also take ownership by proposing solutions that can achieve both organizational and personal goals. Partnership is the key.

3. Manage technology.

Technology is absolutely vital in our lives; it maximizes our access to information and communication, and it increases our productivity and ability to telework. But technology can also be a distraction.  

Be cognizant of how and when you use electronics at work and at home. Use your devices to save time, increase communication, and better manage schedules. At work, consider if a phone call may be more effective than an email or if an instant message could replace an in-person meeting. When you’re home, be mindful of how electronics can divert your attention from loved ones, household tasks, or sleep. Achieving a balance in how we use our devices can make a big difference in our quality of life.

For more information about work-life programs and what is available to you, visit OPM.gov and contact your agency’s human resources office. These tools are crucial to the continued success of our workforce's ability to succeed at home and on the job.

 Photo of a lady buying vegetables from a veteran at a local farmers market.



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