Federal hispanic employment: enough reports, its time for action
If you are treating a patient with a common cold and another one with cancer, you prescribe different medications to each. You do not send the cancer patient to the pharmacy to buy Theraflu tablets, and you do not send the patient with a common cold to get chemotherapy. Not if you want to keep your physician license, and certainly not if you want to prolong the lives of your patients.
Similarly, you don’t address the Hispanic under-representation challenge in the Federal Government — a 41-year challenge! — with a diversity and inclusion initiative. If you are serious about addressing this challenge, you must roll out a Hispanic initiative. It’s that simple.
It’s seems that for the last 41 years, the Federal Govt. has engaged in what Petronius Arbiter (a Roman writer of the Neronian age, AD 27-66), used to call “creating the illusion of progress.”
I read the June 17, 2011 article on diversity in today’s Washington Post with great interest (“Berry Calls for Greater Diversity at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/post/berry-calls-for-greater-diversity/2011/06/16/AGgOqqXH_blog.html%20 ). While mention was made that the numbers for Native Americans were better than expected, nothing was said about the continuing plight of Hispanics in the federal workforce.
As long as we keep mingling Hispanics with the overarching terms “minorities and women” or “diversity and inclusion,” no one will realize how dire the Hispanic challenge really is. We need to shine a high-voltage spotlight on the fact that we have had a Hispanic under-representation problem since President Nixon issued his 16-Point Plan in 1970. We’ve faced this challenge for 41 years, and it’s not getting any better. So, it’s about time that we start calling this a “Hispanic” challenge, rather than a “minority and inclusion” challenge. We need more action and less euphemistic calisthenics.
A case in point that things are not getting better is OPM’s release this week of the Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program (FEORP) Report for FY 2010.
Following are some of the findings, as compared with FY 2008 and FY 2009 FEORP Reports:
a) Representation of Hispanics in the federal workforce:
2009: 8 %
There has been a 0.1% increase in the representation of Hispanics in the federal workforce from 2008-2010.
b) Availability of Hispanics in the Civilian Labor Force:
c) Gap between Hispanics in the CLF and their representation in the federal workforce:
2008: 5.3% (13.2 – 7.9)
2009: 5.4% (13.4 – 8)
2010 5.6% (13.6 – 8)
So the gap between Hispanics in the CLF and their representation in the federal workforce is getting worse, not better. This is happening at a time when the Census Bureau announced in March 2011 that the Hispanic population in the U.S. had exceeded 50 million — 1 out 6 American is now a Hispanic. There are 4 million Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico who are U.S. citizens and eligible for employment in the federal workforce – while the unemployment rate in Puerto Rico as of April 2011 remains at 16.2%.
If you look at the representation of Hispanics in the senior executive ranks in the federal sector – where decisions are made and budgets are approved – the situation gets much worse. Following are some relevant statistics:
d) Hispanics in the SES ranks
So, in a 3-year span, the Hispanic representation in the top leadership positions in the Federal Government increased by an anemic 0.1%.
This leads me to conclude that what is needed is the following:
Embrace the following wake-up national theme: Hispanics, ready for action! No more councils. No more reports. No more statistics. No more paralysis!
A great way to start an action-oriented agenda is to increase the representation of Hispanics in the SES ranks from the current 4%. This would enhance the importance of Hispanic recruitment, hiring, and promotion initiatives from the top-down, and increase the accountability of lower-level management.
We also need the White House to issue an updated executive order to require the establishment of a Hispanic Employment Initiative in the Federal Government, just like it’s been done recently for veterans (Executive Order 13518, Nov. 9, 2009) and for persons with disabilities (Executive Order 13548, July 26, 2010).
This is not an issue of criticizing the initiatives that this White House has enacted for other groups. It is simply a way to bring equity to a group that has been underrepresented in the federal sector for the last forty-one years. Considering that the President used the chant from a Hispanic civil rights activist during his 2008 campaign (¡Si Se Puede! or Yes We Can!), it seems appropriate that the chant be made applicable to embrace an agenda of hope and deliverables for Hispanics.
2008 FEORP Report – http://www.opm.gov/About_OPM/Reports/FEORP/2008/feorp2008.pdf
2009 FEORP Report – http://www.opm.gov/About_OPM/Reports/FEORP/2009/feorp2009.pdf
2010 FEORP Report – http://www.opm.gov/About_OPM/Reports/FEORP/2010/feorp2010.pdf