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More Hispanics are employed in the federal workforce

By Kathy Gurchiek  2/26/2007
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The number of Hispanics employed with the federal government continues to increase even as the number of civil servants overall working for the federal government continues to decrease, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced Feb. 15, 2007.

That’s the word from its Sixth Annual Report to the President on Hispanic Employment in the Federal Government.

As of June 30, 2006, there were 1.6 million permanent federal workers overall—a decrease of 10,797 people from June 30, 2005—but the number of permanent Hispanic workers in the federal government had grown by 1,271.

Increases in the number of Hispanic workers were found in the majority of the nation’s largest federal departments and agencies, according to OPM. Those with the largest percentage of Hispanic permanent new hires were:

  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Justice
  • Department of the Treasury
  • NASA
  • Social Security Administration

“OPM’s mission is to ensure the federal government has an effective civilian workforce,” OPM Director Linda M. Springer said in a letter to President Bush that accompanied the report. “The potential wave of federal retirements over the next 10 years makes our job more critical.”

OPM credits effective relationships with Hispanic communities around the country and partnerships with Hispanic professional organizations and advocacy groups, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and Hispanic-Serving Institutions for the increase.

“Agencies report that establishing effective, long-lasting relationships with Hispanic community groups provided them with an important source of talented Hispanic candidates to fill mission-critical occupations,” OPM said in its report.

“Student employment programs,” such as the Student Career Experience Program and the Federal Career Intern Program, “continue to play an important role in preparing the next generation of federal employees, it reported.

Some best practices by federal agencies in implementing the Hispanic Employment Initiative’s Nine-Point Plan, the OPM said, include:

  • Recruiting at colleges and universities with diverse populations, including Hispanics.
  • Providing mentoring opportunities for employees.
  • Investing in career development and leadership programs for all employees at all levels.

“We are committed to building a federal workforce that draws from America's diverse population,” Springer concluded in her letter, “and will continue to develop innovative means of reaching out to diverse communities, including the Hispanic community, in order to attract talented citizens to public service.”

Kathy Gurchiek is associate editor for HR News . She can be reached at

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