As the first Latina to serve as Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Katherine Archuleta is on a mission to increase Hispanic representation in the federal government’s workforce. While there are over 2 million federal employees, Hispanics are only 8 percent of workers in the federal government. To address this at the national-level, this week the OPM unveiled its Recruitment Engagement Diversity Inclusion road map, or REDI.
“We know that there are underrepresented groups in the federal government at every level,” Archuleta told Fox News Latino. “Latinos are of particular concern as the most underrepresented of any major minority group in government jobs.”
REDI proposes a three-pronged approach to increasing Latino participation in the federal workforce.
“First we’re taking a close look at the data,” Archuleta said, “and not just the numbers of workers in the government workforce but how potential recruits are interacting with USAjobs.gov.”
According to Archuleta, who took the post in October, 2013, in the last year more than 187 million users made roughly 1 billion searches and submitted 21 million job applications via the website.
“When I became director, I immediately began hearing that USAjobs.gov was not keeping up with the changing times,” Archuleta told FNL. “Our bounce rates were too high. We’ve since prioritized the website’s user experience and begun the process of optimizing it both as a resource for job seekers and as an evaluative tool for us to collect data.”
The second leg of Archuleta’s REDI road map is to promote OPM’s hiring tools and communicate its renewed focus on diversity to as broad a network as possible.
“Accessibility is key,” Archuleta said. “One of the things we’ve recognized is the importance of using plain language when we talk about REDI. We’ve found that, in many cases and especially with minorities who have never held a government job or had anyone in their family or close in the community working in the federal government, engaging with our hiring processes could be intimidating. We’ve sought to eliminate those barriers.“
The third leg of Archuleta’s REDI road map is to build a broad, national coalition of stakeholders that can help OPM identify minority talent and provide better customer service to job seekers. In the last year, Archuleta has made 28 trips to 14 states and visited 15 college campuses to talk about OPM’s diversity initiatives and to learn how her office can continue improving.
“We need to know how to untie the hiring knots that have historically prevented minority inclusion,” Archuleta said. “I meet every two months with the national Hispanic advisory group. At my first meeting they were very doubtful. In my last meeting with them late last month, the mood had shifted toward enthusiasm for our program. They were excited to engage with me on our national recruiting effort. Ultimately, what I want to leave as a legacy is a foundation for diversity to be not just a trend for one administration but also the standard for how OPM works in the future.”
Pablo Manriquez works in Washington, D.C. He tweets at @vato.