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News Release

Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Contact: Brenda Bertrand
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Director Kay Coles James Reaches Out to All Americans to Fill Critical Leadership Positions in the Federal Government

Washington, D.C. - Office of Personnel Management Director Kay Coles James is sending top OPM officials to actively participate in the 25th annual Blacks in Government (BIG) National Training Conference in Denver, Colorado in a continuous commitment to expand diversity in the federal workforce.

"BIG is committed to equipping African Americans to excel in government sectors. They are an exceptional resource that federal agencies should tap into," James said. "African Americans are making substantial contributions to this country every day as valued members of the civil service. OPM is committed to broadening these opportunities in the executive ranks. The new SES Candidate Development program is a valuable recruiting tool that reaches out to all traditionally underrepresented groups.

In keeping with this year's conference theme, 'Achieving Excellence through Professional Development', Dr. Jacob Lozada, OPM's Special Advisor of Diversity, and other OPM staff will present over seven seminars spanning topics from 'Preparing for a Career in the Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program (SES CDP)' to addressing diversity in the federal workforce.

"OPM is pleased to increase awareness of the professional development options made available to public servants of varied ethnic backgrounds." Lozada said. "The SES CDP is a confirmation of the government's efforts to ensure a distinguished, Senior Executive Service leadership corps that mirrors the unique diversity of America."

The SES CDP presents competitive programs designed to create pools of qualified executives for SES positions, and includes a variety of elements that prepare candidates for success. Elements of the program include rotational assignments, formal training, mentoring, and performance assessment.

Dr. Lozada stressed the importance of linking arms with non partisan and non profit organizations to attract the most qualified candidates. "We want to enhance the efforts of organizations, like BIG, that are committed to expanding the diversity of public service," Dr. Lozada said. "The Director of OPM, Kay Coles James, is committed to working with a wide range of leaders and organizations to draw a diverse cadre of leadership for the future of the civil service. Together we will make this program successful."

Graduates of OPM's CDP are certified by an SES Qualifications Review Board and may be selected for an SES position anywhere in the federal government, without further competition. Thus, the CDP offers an important alternative to the traditional, competitive SES selection process and a viable entry mechanism for "high-potential candidates" who need additional training and experience.

The development model for OPM's CDP will be rich in exposure to leadership experiences, will be feedback intensive and offer positive mentoring. The program brings together a diverse cadre of potential executives from participating domestic and defense agencies and the private sector for a unique experience in learning and development.

OPM's CDP is open to individuals at the GS-14 and 15 grade levels, or equivalents from within and outside the federal government, with the duration of a candidate's participation lasting between 12-24 months.

In addition to the CDP, OPM's commitment to diversity is taking on new and innovative measures. OPM will launch a national recruitment fair tour in September targeting six cities with high Hispanic American populations. OPM also has an active recruitment strategy targeted towards Asian Pacific Americans as well as all other underrepresented groups.

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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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