The federal government is touting a 0.1 percent increase in the number of Hispanic employees working for the federal government, but Latino advocates are not impressed. They are demanding more be done by President Barack Obama to ensure that the nation’s largest minority group be better represented.
According to an annual report by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the number of Hispanics in the federal workforce increased to 8.4 percent in 2014 from 8.3 in 2013. The OPM has been tracking the number of Hispanic employees working for Uncle Sam since 2000, when then-President Bill Clinton signed an Executive Order prioritizing the hiring of Latinos in the federal government
"The data shows that we continue to make steady progress in improving the representation of Hispanics in federal service," wrote OPM Director Beth Cobert. "The numbers also indicate that agencies that have made the recruitment and retention of Hispanics an important part of hiring and inclusion have shown more progress."
However, Hector Sanchez, chairman of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda – a coalition of 40 prominent Latino organizations – is not celebrating. He is “very concerned” at the “lack of serious change” being made in the federal government to make sure Hispanics are better represented in its ranks.
“Moving at this pace, we will never close the gap of the serious Latino under-representation in the federal government,” Sanchez told Fox News Latino. “ In fact, it will actually increase if we compare it to Latino growth in the United States.”
In 2000, when the OPM began tracking Hispanic workforce employment, Latinos comprised 6.5 percent of workers. Over the years, that number has climbed slowly to just 8.4 percent. In the same time frame, the Hispanic population grew from 12.5 percent of the U.S. population to 17.4 percent in 2014.
Sanchez would like Obama to issue an executive order as Clinton did in 2000 prioritizing the hiring of Hispanics in the federal government. President Obama has been working to increase overall diversity in the federal workforce under the President's Management, Agenda, People and Culture Platform.
But Sanchez believes those initiatives aren't enough, and a renewed presidential executive order is needed to highlight the importance of the issue.
"If the data is not moving, if the data is not improving at the right pace, then the strategy is not working," Sanchez, who is a member of OPM's Hispanic Council on Federal Employment which brings together Latino leaders and advocates, said.
"They [OPM managers] have been trying to reach out to different spaces Latino universities," he noted. "They were trying to do something with the website. We welcome those efforts to help and collaborate, but an issue like this requires leadership at the highest level. "
Latino advocates believe that the Hispanic community should care more about the issue because it can affect them on the policy level too. Sanchez points out that the the Department of Health and Human Services – which is in charge of administering the Affordable Care Act, a law that affects Latinos more than any other group in the U.S. – has the lowest percentage of Latinos of any agency with 3.4.
"This is why this is so important," Sanchez told FNL. "It has a direct effect in the quality of life of our families and our communities."