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News Release

Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Contact: Edmund Byrnes
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Director James Discusses Diversity at New York Times Conference in Texas

Audience of Corporate Executives Responsible for Diversity Learn of Federal Model

Houston, TX - During her speech Workforce Diversity - A Cornerstone of Human Capital, U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director Kay Coles James explained why having a diverse workforce "makes sense," and what the federal government is doing to provide everyone with opportunities to excel. The address came during the New York Times Diversity Breakfast as a part of the National Black MBA Conference.

"Diversity should be a core objective of all of America's companies and organizations, not just the federal government, because it works," said James. "I have seen these benefits first hand in government and private sector organizations that ‘wanted' diversity." James added that diversity also means recruiting qualified individuals with diverse viewpoints.

Recent studies on diversity have concluded that it contributes to the bottom line; improves corporate culture; helps recruit new employees; and, improves relationships with clients. In addition, diversity helps to boost retention of employees; decreases complaints and litigation; gives a business a competitive edge; contributes to higher productivity and improved performance; and, it helps increase employee satisfaction and loyalty.

"My desire is for the government of the United States to be the model of diversity for all of America," said James. "We want to be the tangible proof that benefits can come to the companies and organizations in America that want to do the right thing. What people must understand is that diversity means more than just having or creating a policy of inclusion. It means actively recruiting, developing and promoting a workforce that is drawn from and represents the diverse face of this nation."

James continued, "We have a President, our first with an MBA, who considers the issue of diversity one of his main priorities. President Bush has specifically called for a federal workforce that is drawn from the rich diversity of America. Not only has he asked for this, but he has reflected his commitment to this principle in the development of his personal leadership team. At OPM, we have sought to follow the President's lead, developing a strong cadre of dedicated civil servants of all different backgrounds"

OPM has a comprehensive and aggressive outreach strategy to recruit applicants for federal vacancies including, going to college campuses to begin the work of recruitment and granting flexibilities to allow government managers the authority to bring in student interns and recent college graduates with on the spot hiring.

In addition, the Presidential Management Fellows Program is designed to recruit the best and brightest from graduate-level programs across the country into the federal civil service. The program offers opportunities for talented and capable individuals who seek to enter into our leadership ranks. Today, many of the program's approximately 6,000 alumni can be found at all levels and branches of the federal government.

"The good news is that times and opportunities have changed from the America of our parents' and grandparents' generations," said James. "Speaking as the President's advisor on the federal workforce, I know first hand how much we must work to compete with the private sector, particularly on an individual basis, using recruiting incentives, such as signing bonuses, relocation expenses, and student loan repayments. But the reason we must compete for the best talent out there is due in part to the fact that today is a different day. The fact is minorities have options and choices they didn't have in the past - and that is a wonderful thing. My hope is that as you consider your options, you will accept the opportunity to serve and to continue to serve your country in defense of freedom and liberty. Never doubt for a moment the influence you have. Just by building on the dreams of the generations before, you are changing the world."

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OPM leads and serves the Federal Government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, background investigations, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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