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News Release

Thursday, October 28, 2004
Contact: J. Porter
Tel: 202-606-2402

Director Kay Coles James Partners OPM With American GI Forum

OPM and AGIF, The Only Hispanic Veteran Organization Chartered by Congress, Join Forces To Promote Federal Employment Among Veterans

Washington, DC - Under the direction of U. S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Kay Coles James, Deputy Director Dan G. Blair today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with David Rodriguez, National Commander, American GI Forum (AGIF), the only American Hispanic veteran organization chartered by Congress.

"President Bush and I are fully committed to enforcing veterans' preference and reaching out to the vast talent pool America's veterans comprise," stated Director James. "We are honoured by the Memorandum of Understanding with the American GI Forum. Our veterans have put their lives on the line to protect our freedom, and we owe it to them to recognize their sacrifice. President Bush has set the standard and made it clear that veterans' employment issues are very important. This MOU is another way OPM is reaching out to all veterans."

"I'm glad that OPM and the American GI Forum signed this MOU," stated AFGI National Commander David Rodriguez. "We can use this as a launching point not only to partner on increased outreach to veterans in the Federal civil service, but also on outreach to the Hispanic community.  It is a win for both and for America as a whole."

The purpose of the MOU (attached) is to provide the cooperative framework for OPM and AGIF to develop and establish a Partnership to support the OPM Veteran Invitational Program (VIP) and the AGIF VET-HIRE Program. The partnership will foster a mutually supportive relationship for further recruiting candidates for Federal employment from a traditionally underrepresented community. The MOU was also signed in support of Executive Order 13171, "White House Initiative on Hispanic Employment in the Federal Government."

"OPM has been at the forefront of efforts to preserve and protect veterans' rights in Federal employment. As Director James has repeatedly stressed, we owe our veterans a debt of gratitude," stated Blair. "We have a responsibility to help these men and women as they transition back to civilian life. And, there is no better source of talent for the Federal government than those who have completed their service in uniform. With the signing today of this Memorandum of Understanding with the American GI Forum, we extend our reach into the Hispanic veterans community and implement a partnership that is good for all of America."

AGIF works consistently on behalf of Hispanic veterans and their families in all aspects of veterans' affairs, education, employment, social/economic development, and civil rights. It has over 325,000 members throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

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