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Washington, DC. - Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Deputy Director Dan Blair spoke at the American Legion's 44th Annual Washington Legislative Conference. Representing OPM Director Kay Coles James, Blair highlighted OPM's outreach activities, veterans' support efforts and opportunities in veterans' employment.
"Director James is committed to enforcing the veterans' preference laws as they pertain to Federal civilian jobs," stated Blair. "The Director is also committed to seeing that those Federal employees who are proudly serving in this country's reserves receive all the benefits to which they are entitled."
The average age of veterans in the Federal workforce is 50 years old compared to 44 years old for non-veterans. Many veterans are now eligible for retirement and are retiring at a higher rate than the general Federal workforce. This trend may challenge the government in maintaining its current high levels of veteran employment. "These trends do not faze us. To the contrary, OPM remains committed to the notion that veterans continue to be one of the main sources of candidates for Federal jobs," said Blair. "Today's military provides the kind of high tech and leadership skills that we need in the Federal workforce."
OPM has been extremely active and has taken several steps to ensure veterans preference is protected and maintained governmentwide. Some of the steps taken have included:
Directives from OPM Director Kay Coles James to agency heads reminding them of their obligations to veterans and urging them to hire more veterans.
Audits and corrective action plans designed to drive agency compliance and commitment to veterans' preference.
OPM working with the Department of Veterans' Affairs to completely revise disability letters used to establish entitlement to veterans' preference to make it easier for disabled veterans to claim preference.
Developing regulations for provisions of the Jobs for Veterans Act and are preparing guidance for agencies relating to the Korean Defense Service Medal.
Implementing the Veteran Invitational Program (VIP) with a series of nationwide 'Working for America' recruitment fairs, designed to assist veterans by providing informative educational tools and publications to encourage veterans to pursue a civilian career with the Federal government.
"OPM's commitment to veterans' employment lies at the heart of our mission. The veterans' preference laws have long been a cornerstone of the Civil Service, and OPM has been at the forefront of efforts to preserve and protect veterans' preference in Federal employment," stated Blair.
The Federal government is the Nation's leader in veteran employment, employing over 450,000 veterans. Compared to the private sector, the Federal Government employs over twice the percentage of veterans, approximately three times the percentage of Vietnam veterans, over five times the percentage of disabled veterans, and over nine times the percentage of veterans who have a service-connected disability of 30% or more.
Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.