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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Contact: Chad Cowan
Tel: 202-606-2402

Over 2,000 Attend U.S. Office of Personnel Management's Nationwide Search for the Best and Brightest in San Diego, California

Veterans targeted for key positions

Washington, DC- The successful “Working for America” recruitment fairs sponsored by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) made its most recent stop on Tuesday, March 23 in San Diego, California. The latest fair, which attracted over 2,000 eager job seekers, was the tenth fair in a series of eleven that began in Los Angeles, California in September 2003. The recruitment fair also featured workshops on interviewing, resume writing, the Federal application process and veterans’ preference. 

OPM’s Senior Advisor for Diversity, Jacob Lozada, on behalf of OPM Director Kay Coles James, said “We are glad to bring employment opportunities in the Federal government to all who come here today. Under President Bush and Director James, OPM is reaching out to traditionally underrepresented communities. The President has given the charge we encourage all to consider Federal service and ensure those positions are open to all qualified candidates.”

Lozada added, "These recruitment fairs are an opportunity for Federal agencies to showcase current vacancies, several of which are in the medical field, available both locally and nationally to qualified candidates. Secondly, the fairs provide agencies with opportunities to exercise their full range of hiring flexibilities, including direct hire authority."

Direct hire authority allows agencies to appoint candidates directly to occupations where OPM determines there is a severe shortage of candidates, or a critical hiring need for particular occupations, grades (or equivalent), and/or geographic locations. This authority can be governmentwide or limited to one or more specific agencies depending on circumstances. The Department of Veteran Affairs was actively engaged in utilizing these flexibilities conducting interviews with veterans who have medical backgrounds for nurse, medical technician, and other medical positions.

"Fixing the hiring process has been one of the top priorities of Director James,” Lozada said. "New hiring flexibilities and authorities have the potential for Federal agencies dramatically improving our ability to get the right people in the right jobs at the right time."

However, Lozada noted that some agencies have not yet implemented these new authorities. In response to a request that originated from agencies, Lozada explained that Director James compiled a list of actions (http://www.opm.gov/Strategic_Management_of_Human_capital/Top10Fixes.asp ) thatsome agencies are already doing to drive changes in how they conduct hiring and recruitment.

"These fairs are one of the many ways we are working to fix the Federal hiring process, as we are actively seeking out talent and connecting agencies, face to face, with the future of the civil service," Lozada continued. "Bringing America's best and brightest into public service is a priority of President Bush, and it is our aim to do just that."

The fair, which was held at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, California, featured 26 Federal agency participants and highlighted thousands of Federal career opportunities nationwide as well as numerous local vacancies. Among the jobs available are vocational nursing opportunities with the Department of Navy, a variety of opportunities in the medical field with the Department of Veterans Affairs (such as registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, and medical technologists, among others), and others with the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, and Department of State. A list of agency participants and positions can be seen at the opm.gov website by clicking on the USAJOBS link or by going directly to usajobs.gov. Southwestern College has a student body of 20,000 and it is estimated that ten percent of the students visited the job fair.

An interactive computerized classroom showcasing governmentwide jobs available throughout the nation on USAJOBS was another component of the fair. The www.usajobs.gov website is a free, one stop service for searching all currently available Federal positions. The website has received over (insert latest numbers) unique visitors since its launch in August 2003, and over (insert latest numbers) new candidates have posted their resumes online.

The final recruitment fair will take place in New York City Tuesday, April 20, 2004. For more information about these recruitment fairs or on fixing the Federal hiring process, please contact OPM’s Office of Communications & Public Liaison at 202-606-2402.

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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.


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