The first meeting of the Hispanic Council of Federal Employment will be held on February 11th at the Office of Personnel Management to discuss their goals for hiring, recruitment, retainment, and advancement with OPM Director John Berry.
The council is an advisory committee made up of representatives from Hispanic organizations and senior government officials.
The issue to be discussed is the lack of Hispanic hiring into federal agencies, despite the rise seen for other minorities over the last few years. Being cited is the much slower rate of hiring Hispanics between 2008 and 2009.
In 2009, just 8 percent of the permanent federal workforce was Hispanic, while in the private sector it was 13.9 percent. African-Americans, Asians, and Native Americans saw a much larger proportion in the federal workforces than in private sector.
“I think the issue ... is that we [Hispanics] have never really considered the federal government as a good place to work, traditionally … We don’t have the same tools that a private company would work with … Unfortunately, a lot of times because of those limitations, we haven’t been as good as others [in recruiting], particularly among Latinos,” said Latina and Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 Stimulus Funds Coordinator Gina Weber.
She added that the lack of Hispanics in the federal government’s higher-level jobs was concerning, because it points out that the Hispanic population does not have a legacy of government service like their fellow minorities. In 2009, only 4 percent of the total federal employees at senior pay levels were Hispanic.
Along with a 2009 report in Hispanics in the federal workforce, Director Barry sent President Obama a letter stating, ““Of greatest concern is that for the year ending June 30, 2009, the percentage of Hispanic new hires decreased from 9.2 percent to 7.3 percent. This is well below the Civilian [Private] Labor Force representation of 13.2 percent. OPM is leading an interagency task force on diversity that will develop recommendations for improving our efforts toward a federal government drawn from the diversity of our nation.”
The entire letter can be read here.