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It’s that time of year again. The time when children begin packing their bags for school, parents are making school lunches, vacations are ending, and the unofficial end of summer comes knocking, sometimes sooner than some would like.

Each year, on the first Monday of September, our nation comes together to recognize a Federal holiday dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers, also known as Labor Day. This day has established a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the success, strength, and well-being of our country.  This year, Labor Day falls on September 4th.

It’s a day in which we have the chance to glance back on the history of our great nation, and realize that our tenacity, accomplishments, and growth are all traced back to you – the American worker. The idea of taking a day to celebrate labor is traced back to over 100 years ago.

The first Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5th, 1882 in New York City. Two years later, in 1884, the first Monday in September was selected as the official date for the holiday, and 10 years later, in 1894, it was made an official Federal holiday. We are so fortunate as citizens of the United States of America to have the ability to collaborate together through our work, and create new theories, ideas, and ways of thinking. Our entire foundation is built on the idea that every citizen can work towards accomplishing their own unique dream or goal, and therefore continue to strengthen the bonds of the American workforce.

On Monday, we celebrate all those who work towards a better life, and a better nation. Those who put in hours and hours of work every week to be the best version of themselves that they can be. If you think about it, we wouldn’t be where we are today without the drive of the average, everyday American-worker.

So, while you’re out enjoying the sunshine with your friends and family, or taking part in various Labor Day traditions, I invite you to take a moment to reflect on the contributions workers have made towards the establishment and continuous well-being of our country. In the end, it’s your work that leads us towards a brighter future.

Happy Labor Day!



Image of four silhouetted women all in different colors. From left to right, pink, blue, orange, green. Text says Women's Equality Day.

Please join me in commemorating Women’s Equality Day this Saturday, August 26, 2017, which marks the 97th anniversary of national women’s suffrage. On this date in 1920, the 19th Amendment of the United Sates Constitution was passed, granting women the right to vote. In 1971, 51 years later, the U.S. Congress established Women’s Equality Day.

It’s important to remember that at one point in our nation’s history, women were not seen as the leaders and pioneers we are seen as today. There was a time when women didn’t have the ability to vote, and were often discouraged from obtaining an academic education and told not to pursue a professional career. Times have changed and today, we have the opportunity to accomplish our hopes, dreams, and live our lives to the fullest potential.

The first major women’s rights conference occurred in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848. During that meeting, the social, civil, and religious rights of women were discussed. That conference began a movement, and as a career woman myself, I am grateful for their achievements. Over the years, thousands of women participated in marches throughout America, gave speeches, wrote convincing newspaper editorials, and lobbied their Congressmen, all to achieve voting rights for all women. On this day, I invite all my colleagues to pause a moment to reflect on the determination and unyielding spirit demonstrated by these courageous women.

On Women's Equality Day, we celebrate women’s suffrage. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made, and look forward to seeing the bright future ahead.

Enjoy Women’s Equality Day!


A blue transparent background on top of the American flag imagery. At the top it says #AmericanHeroesWeek and underneath U.S. Office of Personnel Management Celebrates American Heroes

This week was American Heroes week, giving us time to reflect on the true heroes of our nation. We are a country that is truly blessed to have these individuals step forward as part of their daily routines to keep us safe and preserve our way of life. These heroes come in many forms, ranging from law enforcement officers and members of the military, to public safety officers. Behind the uniform, is a person whose valor and courage stand immeasurable, and will never diminish in value, no matter how much time passes.

America was founded based on the values of heroes. The beginning of this country was carried on the backs of those who had everything to lose, and risked it all, to not only secure their freedom, but also the freedom of future generations. Characteristics of heroism have continued to reveal themselves throughout our history, carrying on into the present.

As I look out my office window, I see a scene of Washington, D.C. and my heart fills with pride. I am proud that here at OPM, it is of great importance to protect those who protect us. I am inspired daily by the men and women of this agency who have served in our nation’s military, who protect the walls of the very building we work in, and those who work day in and day out to make sure our heroes will have a place to create a life after they’ve risked it all to protect our freedoms.  As President Donald J. Trump said earlier this week, “[W]e are celebrating American heroes.  And nothing fills our hearts with more pride than to be with those who risked everything to protect our citizens and preserve our way of life.”

At OPM, we are committed to helping transitioning military service members continue their service through Federal careers.  As part of the Federal Veterans Employment Initiative, OPM, in its role as Vice Chair of the Interagency Council on Veterans Employment, created the one-stop Federal employment information resource for veterans, Feds Hire Vets.   On this site, transitioning service members, veterans, and their family members have access to key information to ease the transition to Federal employment.  The Federal Veterans Employment Initiative is a strategic initiative, but has a very straightforward approach to helping the men and women who have served our country in the military find employment in the Federal Government. It also underscores the importance of aligning the talents of these individuals with key civil service positions so the Government is better positioned to meet mission objectives and citizens are better served.   Today veterans make up approximately 31 percent of the Federal family.

Helping those who have done so much for the United States of America is the best way to show you care. OPM cares, I care, and the Federal government cares.

Thank you to our American Heroes, we wouldn’t be where we are today without you. 


"America’s Front Yard” Celebrates 241 Years of Independence

As the seat of the United States government and with the Capitol, Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial as backdrop for a spectacular fireworks display, there are few places in America more appropriate or inspiring to spend Independence Day than Washington, D.C.

For more than half a century, the National Park Service has been at the heart of the Fourth of July festivities on the National Mall – coordinating the fireworks and concert on the Mall, and co-sponsoring the National Memorial Day Parade and A Capitol Fourth, the all-star salute to American independence broadcast live from the West Lawn of the Capitol. Every year hundreds of thousands of people come together on the Mall to celebrate of the founding of our nation.

Planning begins long before the parade steps off or the first firework is shot into the air, months in advance. The park establishes an incident management team to organize and administer the event. Working with a wide variety of federal and local partners, the team develops the strategy and organization to successfully manage all aspects of the event, including planning, operations, logistics, safety, public information, finance and more.Picture of park staff setting up lines and lines of fireworks.

As the big day approaches, set-up begins about ten days in advance. The United States Park Police works in conjunction with multiple agencies to develop a security plan for the event to ensure the safety of those who attend. More than 30,000 linear feet of chain link fencing and bike rack, the equivalent of 60 Washington Monuments stacked end to end, are placed around the Mall to establish a secure area for the festivities.

Some 350 portable toilets are placed along the more than two miles between the Capitol and Lincoln Memorial. Rangers work with the fireworks contractor to safely get the 6,500 shells into place. Others plan the pre-fireworks concert at the Sylvan Theater on the grounds of the Washington Monument, working with performers and ensuring that the correct lighting and sound systems are available and in place.

On July 4, more than 200 National Park Service employees and more than 100 volunteers work on the National Mall and the adjacent George Washington Memorial Parkway. Access points are staffed and visitors brought through security. Staff and volunteer crews collect trash and recycling throughout the day. Medical aid stations are set up and manned. Rangers give talks at the memorials throughout the day.

After the fireworks are set off, another whole round of work begins. Cleanup crews begin their work even as the last of the shells are flickering out, working through the night and into the next day with rakes, blowers and other equipment to remove the mountains of trash left behind. Park staff and volunteers quickly remove fireworks debris from the Reflecting Pool and the fallout area after the event in order to reopen closed areas for visitors as quickly as possible.

Additional information and the full schedule of events for the 2017 celebration is online at www.nps.gov/foju. Have a happy Independence Day and enjoy the day!

Four red fireworks over the reflecting pool on the mall.

Image has all four logos for the work-life programs against a white background. In the left top hand corner is the light green telework logo with two upward arrows and the word telework inside the bottom arrow. On the right top hand corner is the red health and wellness logo with the words health and wellness in a white heart. In the left hand bottom corner is the purple family and dependent care logo with three white icons of people joined together as if in a hug and the text family and dependent care across the icons in purple. In the right hand bottom corner is the yellow employee assistance program logo, containing a white hand icon and the text employee assistance program in yellow. A blue line is below all the logos with the words #WorkLife4Feds in white text aligned right. Besides this bar is the blue work-life logo with contains to white chain links and the text work-life beside it to the right. Underneath to the left is the text OPM.gov

In today's world, employees often seek work-life solutions.  I’m happy to report that the Federal Government is a leader in promoting work-life balance for its workforce.  Work-life solutions are powerful management tools which help the Federal Government recruit and engage qualified talent, and give employees the resources to help them pursue healthy, fulfilling lives.  In fact, analysis of the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) data has identified work-life support as a key driver of engagement in the Federal workforce.

The Federal Government offers a variety of work-life programs and flexibilities to assist agencies in promoting work-life balance for their employees.  To assist agencies, OPM recently produced a series of new work-life brochures on family and dependent care, worksite health and wellness, telework, and employee assistance programs.  These work-life brochures increase awareness of options available in the Federal Government and illustrate their potential value for individuals, families, and organizations.

Managers and employees in our Federal community are invited to take the Introduction to Leave, Work-Life, and Workplace Flexibilities Course, explore OPM's Work-Life website and Telework.gov, and reach out to your local HR office for more information about services potentially available to you.

In the upcoming months, OPM will release the Government-wide results of the first Federal Work-Life Survey, which was administered in early 2017.  This new data will inform our analysis of the work-life needs and priorities of Federal employees.  These survey results will be used to help evaluate the relationship between work-life programs and organizational benefits.  Finally, senior leaders and managers will be able to consider these results as they make decisions regarding these programs. 

OPM will continue working with agency leaders across the government to ensure they have the necessary tools for an engaged, productive workforce.  Ultimately, our goal is to create work environments where each employee contributes to the success of the agency while reaching his or her full potential.  I believe that work-life solutions can be valuable tools in this endeavor.


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