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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
Contact: Michael Orenstein
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Trains 400 HR/Program Officials on Identifying Bogus College Degrees

Director James says those who would deceive cannot undermine America's confidence in its federal civil service

Washington, D.C. -- The U.S. Office of Personnel Management today hosted a seminar during which approximately 200 hiring and program managers were educated on techniques they can use to identify bogus academic degrees presented by individuals to gain employment or promotion, and which have the potential to hinder public safety.

OPM Director Kay Coles James called today's seminar an "important meeting for frontline officials" whose decisions on personnel affect all Americans, as well as the legitimacy of the federal civil service. The seminar will be repeated on May 7 for another 200 individuals.

"Following today's seminar, human resource professionals and program managers will be better prepared to identify the misrepresentation of academic credentials, specifically the presentation of bogus degrees issued through diploma mills by those who, for self gain, would attempt to perpetrate a hoax or fraud upon the American public," said James. "Out of respect and admiration for our nation's honest and hard-working federal civil servants, the Bush Administration is committed to weeding-out those who would misrepresent themselves and their credentials in ways that put the nation's health and security in jeopardy."

A second seminar, to be held May 7, has been scheduled to satisfy the response of government officials who understand the importance of this initiative to ensure American citizens receive quality, professional services for their tax dollars. OPM hosted similar seminars last August following disclosure of an official who had obtained a number of degrees from an established diploma mill. The seminars included presentations by a former FBI agent and a leading expert on diploma mills.

In a memorandum issued in July 2003, James reminded agency heads of the need to report to OPM all actions taken against employees who use bogus degrees to misrepresent their credentials. James also cited the Guidance for Agencies Concerning Bogus Degree Claims, an OPM manual, as a source of assistance. Since the mid 1980s, OPM has worked with federal agencies and the law enforcement community to identify businesses and individuals who knowingly misrepresent their academic programs or credentials.

The following is a list of federal agencies and departments represented at today's seminar:
Department of Agriculture
Department of Army
Department of Commerce
Department of Defense
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Homeland Security
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Department of Interior
Department of Justice
Department of Labor
Department of Navy
Department of State
Department of Transportation
Department of Treasury
Department of Veterans Affairs
Agency for International Development
Armed Forces Retirement Home
Broadcasting Board of Governors
Central Intelligence Agency
Commodity Future Trading Commission
Environmental Protection Agency
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Executive Office of the President
Export-Import Bank of the United States
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Federal Reserve Board
Federal Trade Commission
General Services Administration
International Trade Commission
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Credit Union Administration
National Gallery of Art
National Labor Relations Board
National Science Foundation
National Security Agency
National Transportation Safety Board
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Office of Government Ethics
Office of Management and Budget
Office of Personnel Management
Smithsonian Institution

Many agencies that sent representatives to today's diploma mill seminar - as well as agencies not listed above - will send representatives to the May 7 seminar.

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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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