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Speeches & Remarks

Opening Statement of OPM Director John Berry

Hispanic Council on Federal Employment

Theodore Roosevelt Building

September 30, 2011

Good afternoon everyone. [Acknowledge CHCOs and others.]

Thank you all for the important work you're doing. In February, I asked for your help with a big challenge: removing barriers to the recruitment and advancement of Hispanics in the Federal workforce. We need to improve our recruitment and retention strategies to ensure Hispanics are included and given the opportunity to succeed and be promoted to every level of every agency in government.

The good news is: the number of Hispanics in the Federal workforce grew by over 7,000 from Fiscal 2009 to 2010, as the report we're issuing today shows. However, the percentage has not grown, so we still have a lot of work to do.

Since this Council was formed, we've gained a huge new tool to assist us with this work: President Obama's Executive Order "Establishing a Coordinated Government-Wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce" specifically calls on us to deliver a governmentwide strategic plan by November 16. Each agency will then develop their own plans 120 days after that.

We will only succeed in our critical missions with a diverse workforce that hails from, represents, and is attuned to the needs of every American community. Inclusion is just as important.

We need to get the most out of every Federal worker, and that means making each of them feel included in their workplace and their agency's mission. It doesn't help us to hire people because they're different, and then marginalize them because they're not the same. We want all employees to feel connected to their organization; to have the opportunity to develop to their full potential; to share the unique aspects of their experience. That's inclusion.

And we only get the full benefit of diversity and inclusion if it is present throughout our ranks - in the field, at headquarters, and in senior management

The President has made it clear that we need a coordinated approach to diversity and inclusion.

I believe that in order to succeed, everyone- everyone needs to feel like they're a part of this. Inclusion must be universal. No matter how good our intentions, anything that is easy to paint as "special treatment" for one group is destined to fail. So we're committed to moving forward under one umbrella - the umbrella of President Obama's Executive Order.

Now this doesn't mean that different groups aren't differently situated. They are. We will not paper over that.

The report we're issuing today, Hispanic Employment in the Federal Government, demonstrates that we continue to have work to do in hiring, retaining, including, and promoting Hispanics at every level of the workforce. This is unique among all the ethnic and minority groups that we track. Issuing this report also demonstrates that we're keeping the spotlight on this issue, and that we're committed to addressing it. That's why we will continue to issue this as a separate report.

That's why I'm announcing today that we're extending the charter of this Council for a full additional year and asking you to continue working with us to build momentum and bolster accountability.

The challenges faced by Hispanics at every level points to unique barriers that must be addressed in a targeted way. That's why we need to recruit at HACUs and HSIs. That's why we need to recruit more Hispanic veterans. That's why we need the help of every organization represented on this Council. We are blessed to have so many exceptional organizations here, with such deep roots in the community and such active memberships. We need your help, both here on this Council, and every day as we recruit.

I look forward to your input today, the final recommendations of this Council, and your enthusiastic assistance in implementing the plans that we develop here. If we work hard and work together, I'm confident we will see much improved reports on Hispanic Employment in the Federal Government going forward.

Thank you.

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