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Haskell Indian Nations University

As I work to make sure that our Federal workforce looks like the country it serves, I am dedicated to engaging Native Americans, especially Native youth.

This morning, I had the pleasure of meeting with staff and students at Haskell Indian Nations University to talk about what OPM can do to help interest Native youth in Federal service.

HINU, located in Lawrence, Kansas, is one of the largest and most diverse tribal colleges in the country. The university has nearly 1,000 students representing about 140 tribal nations and Alaska native communities.

I was particularly excited to continue my outreach with Native communities as part of the President’s Native Youth Listening Tour.  The President is challenging his Cabinet and agency heads to work with Native youth to identify culturally appropriate responses to their communities’ greatest issues. This initiative is called Generation Indigenous -- or Gen I. Through this effort, we want to identify a variety of concrete steps to address the needs of Native communities, including access to the high quality education that can lead to meaningful employment opportunities.

HINU is a fantastic example of what is possible. During my visit, I spoke with members of the Haskell student services team about opportunities for Federal service, including those in the greater Kansas City area. We know that not everyone wants to work in Washington, D.C. In fact, 85 percent of Federal jobs are located outside of the D.C. area.

OPM’s partnership with Haskell represents one way in which we try to match the skills of a diverse workforce with the needs of communities. As part of my new REDI initiative (Recruitment, Engagement, Diversity, and Inclusion), OPM is expanding our relationships with colleges and universities, including minority-serving institutions.

REDI, which I introduced earlier this week, is a comprehensive plan to attract and engage the strongest, most diverse Federal workforce possible. In particular, OPM is working to improve USAJOBS and the Pathways program for students and recent graduates. We hope that these improved tools will enable us to connect more effectively with the talented students of HINU, other tribal colleges, and Native communities.

We need the voices of Native youth in today’s Federal service. Last December, I had the honor of participating in a Native youth panel at the White House Tribal Nations Conference. I said then that if we are going to have a successful Federal workforce, it must be one that looks like the America we serve. It’s something I believe in very strongly, and something that the REDI Roadmap is designed to help make a reality.

I want everyone, including Native youth, to have every opportunity to join us in shaping the future of the Federal Government.


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