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News Release

Tuesday, November 18, 2003
Contact: Edmund Byrnes
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Director's Message of Creating a Diverse Federal Work Force is Delivered at the Asian Diversity Conference and Career Expo

Washington, D.C. - During the Asian Diversity Conference and Career Expo in New York City, U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Deputy Director Dan Blair addressed the importance OPM Director Kay Coles James is placing on creating a diverse federal work force, one that includes the "best and brightest" from every corner of the United States. The speech, The Honor of Working for America: Diversity Initiatives in the Federal Work Force, stressed what has been done and what continues to be done to "level the playing field" for all to have a chance at the American dream.

During opening remarks, Blair thanked the many Asian-American human resources professionals from the public and private sectors for their focus on employment issues and for helping achieve the positive results "President George W. Bush and Director James expect."

"Director James' role is to make sure that the federal government has the people resources - the human capital - that it needs to do the critical jobs and deliver results to the American people," said Blair. "She is working to streamline the hiring processes and modernize the government's compensation system so that the federal government is positioned to compete with the private sector for highly skilled and qualified individuals, and she is taking these steps in the context of her commitment to preserve diversity and fairness through a system of true merit. She is absolutely committed to the merit system that forms the foundation of the civil service. The merit system ensures all employees and applicants they will be treated fairly, and ensures employees that there is no glass ceiling and no discriminatory impediment to career advancement."

Blair also reminded the audience of the wealth of job opportunities the federal government has to offer. "If I have one message for you to take back to your communities, it is this: The federal government is 'where the jobs are.' On any given day, OPM posts over 15,000 federal jobs on the USAJobs web site, and we have more openings every day. But most importantly, we have a President who is committed to draw on the talent of men and women of all races and from all walks of life for public service."

However, despite the opportunities, Director James believes there is "much more work to be done so that everyone hears the government's call for people interested in doing America's business," and that "one of the things she thinks we have to keep in mind is that we are going to have to work harder and harder to get the best and brightest into public service."

Steps OPM is taking to ensure that the federal government becomes more diverse include new efforts to reach out to and partner with Asian-American businesses and professional organizations; "upgrading" the Presidential Management Intern Program, the government's premier program for recruiting and developing leadership talent; creation of the governmentwide Candidate Development and Executive Readiness programs; and to aggressively recruit in traditionally under represented communities for qualified candidates to these programs by proactively using all available recruitment tools, including recruitment fairs around the country, aggressive media campaigns, public service announcements, and targeted ads.

In closing, Blair reiterated the Bush Administration's commitment to inclusion. "The federal government has long been a leader in creating career opportunities for women, for young people and for minorities. I can promise you that we will make sure that the federal government takes advantage of the full array of talent in this room and, indeed, in the entire the Asian American community."

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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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