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Washington, D.C. - During his keynote address at the Class of 2004 Job Fair for those participating in the newly established Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program, U.S. Office of Personnel Management Deputy Director Dan G. Blair thanked the audience for their commitment to work for the federal government, especially now, "when their country needs them the most."
The Fair - held at the new Washington, D.C., Convention Center - brought together approximately 700 current and former Fellows and 2004 Finalists.
"Both Director Kay Coles James and I have had the chance to talk with public servants all over our great nation," said Blair. "And we both are struck by the common thread that runs through the federal family. And that thread is the dedication to work, the level of commitment to mission and the overall pride at being part of America's team, part of America's civil service. I bet you won't find any other employer that can offer you the kind of career opportunities combined with the pride of serving and protecting the public."
Reminding the Fellows of the pledge they take to "serve their Nation," Blair said: "As public servants, you will have the honor, privilege and duty to serve our Nation at an incredibly defining moment in history. And in doing so, I want to remind you of the privilege and responsibility you assume."
In a November 2003 Executive Order, President George W. Bush instituted a totally new PMF program, thus fully replacing the Presidential Management Intern (PMI) program by fundamentally transforming the initiative, eliminating the cap present under the old PMI program, expanding participation to all executive branch agencies, and making the program more competitive by strengthening program standards and including demonstrated leadership potential as a criterion. The Order also transfers the PMF headquarters from Philadelphia, PA, to Washington, D.C., and it allows for Fellows to enter at the GS-9 through GS-12 levels of pay. (PMIs could only enter at the GS-9 level.)
The president's Executive Order also created the Senior Presidential Management Fellows (SPMF) program. The SPMF is a mid-level, national recruitment program designed to help agencies meet their strategic human capital plans and fulfill succession planning needs.
The new PMF Program is intended to create a flexible, customer-focused method for the recruitment and retention of top talent into the federal civil service. And building on the 27-year history of the former PMI Program, the PMF has targeted the best and brightest in graduate programs from many of the nation's top colleges and universities.
Over the past eight years, interest by applicants has increased dramatically, with nominations from schools rising from approximately 500 in 1995, to 3,000 in 2003.
"With the federal work force reaching retirement age, the government expects to face an exodus of many experienced and talented individuals from its ranks, representing a substantial loss to the agencies they serve," said Blair. "Within this potential crisis, however, also resides the promise of opportunity. We are confidant that this new PMF Program will prove to be a critical tool to help agencies strategically access an educated, capable and diverse group of emerging leaders. As I walked into this room this morning and had the chance to meet and talk with some of you, I could sense the pride, the promise, the commitment, the motivation, and the patriotism you bring to the program. I feel as though I have been given a front-row seat to watch America's future leaders answer the call to service, and, in the words of President Bush, 'make a difference.'"
To view the Executive Order creating the Presidential Management Fellows program, please visit www.pmi.opm.gov/exorder.asp. For information on the program, please visit www.pmf.opm.gov/.
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.