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Washington, D.C. - U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Kay Coles James was represented at the Minority Access, Inc. Fifth National Role Models Conference: Presidential Summit by Marta Brito Perez, Associate Director of the division for Human Capital Leadership and Merit System Accountability. The conference creates a forum for students, parents and university officials to discuss career options for college students of diverse backgrounds.
In her opening remarks, Perez delivered a strong message from Director James to the students, parents and college presidents in attendance. "Director James wanted me to be clear on one important message - we want you, America's best and brightest to come work for the Federal government. She said we need these young people to help serve and protect the people of our country." Perez said.
During her presentation, Perez highlighted OPM's nationwide efforts to draw highly qualified individuals from the diverse population of America into the Federal workforce through aggressive outreach and recruiting efforts.
"President George W. Bush has called for a Federal workforce that is drawn from the diversity of America. Perez said, "For the record, we believe diversity means more than just having or creating a policy of inclusion. It means actively recruiting, developing and promoting the best and the brightest across all segments of our nation."
The students were also given information and publications on the OPM USAJOBS website, www.usajobs.gov, the one-stop location where over 17,000 jobs in the Federal government are currently advertised. Additionally, e-Scholar, the main portal where students can find hundreds of Federally funded educational scholarships, internships, grants, and cooperative programs was highlighted.
Perez also discussed major developments regarding OPM efforts to streamline federal recruitment, hiring, and workforce retention. She highlighted student programs such as the Presidential Management Fellows program which targets the best and brightest from graduate programs in colleges and universities throughout America. Perez also highlighted the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) which provides work experience which is directly related to the student's academic program and career goals. Students in the SCEP may be noncompetitively converted to term, career or career-conditional appointments following completion of their academic and work experience requirements.
Perez reminded the students that the opportunities to serve in Federal Government are on the rise with an anticipated surge in the next five years. "It is no secret the Federal Government expects to face an exodus of many experienced and talented individuals as the workforce reaches retirement age. In our managerial ranks, over 40 percent are eligible to retire right now. If it happens, this could be a substantial loss to our agencies. However, within this potential crisis is the opportunity to diversify the management ranks of our government. That means greater opportunity for all!" Perez said.
The opportunity for OPM to participate in the Minority Access Conference comes on the heels of recent findings in the FY2003 Statistical Information on Hispanic Employment in Federal Agencies which shows Hispanic hiring by the Federal government is on the rise.
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.