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Deputy Secretary Graves, OPM Director Ahuja Host Virtual Roundtable with Representative Frederica Wilson on Equitable Hiring in the Federal Government


Following the Biden Administration’s first-ever interagency convening on economic growth, Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Kiran Ahuja hosted a virtual roundtable to bring leaders together to discuss ways to reinvent the federal workforce through the lens of equity and make the federal government the model employer.

Deputy Secretary Graves and Director Ahuja were joined by U.S. Representative Frederica S. Wilson, who is chair of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment, as well as representatives from advocacy groups, academia, and faith-based organizations.  

“This administration is committed to equity and delivering on that promise, so everyone has a chance at the American Dream, not just a privileged few,” said Deputy Secretary Graves. “We also know that part of delivering for the American public is making sure that our programs are connecting to folks and communities who hadn’t been connected in the past,” said Graves. “Many of our bureaus are doing outreach in tribal communities, in communities of color, with a range of organizations so we make sure our programs are reflective of the challenges that folks are facing, that we’re also increasing the number of folks who are in a pipeline for these programs.”

“We are committed to making sure that our workforce draws on the amazing diversity that exists across the country. We know a diverse workforce is a strength that helps better the federal government,” said Director Ahuja said. “We focus on making sure that agencies like the DOC and others can bring the best and brightest individuals into the federal government.”

“I’m especially pleased that President Biden’s executive order charges federal agencies with developing new recruitment partnerships with historically Black colleges and universities, tribal colleges, and universities and other minority-serving institutions,” said Rep. Wilson. “By working with federal, state, and local representatives, as well as other community leaders, federal agencies can streamline the flow of information to communities that are underrepresented in the federal workforce to help demystify government work.”

Panelists of the roundtable described the improvements that will come from the President’s executive orders to make job applications and entry-level positions more accessible. Panelists included UnidosUS President Janet Murguia; Center for American Progress Disability Justice Initiative Director Mia Ives-Rublee; North Carolina A&T University Provost Dr. Tonya Smith-Jackson; Church of God in Christ Director of Economic Development Bishop Darin Burns; and D’Ante Barnes, a 2019 graduate of North Carolina A&T University.

The entire roundtable can be watched here.