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First Generation Professionals

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Don't overlook the unique skills of first-generation professionals

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Posted with permission from cyberFEDS IN FOCUS: Traditional assessment methods may overlook first-generation professionals when identifying the best and brightest candidates for a position, but FGPs often bring top skills to the table, according to Gregory White, a data analyst in the Commerce Department's Office of Human Capital Strategy and Diversity. Research, he said, shows that the top five...

Spotlight on Commerce: Catalina Martinez, Regional Program Manager, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

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Growing up in a hardworking, traditional Cuban family of little means, I was pulled out of school often as a child to help care for my sick grandmother and to work to help the family in other ways. My grandparents believed that girls didn’t need an education, and that only boys should go to school. Thankfully, I grew up in a very diverse community, so I knew there was more out there for girls than...

First-generation Professionals Bring "Cultural Competence" to the Workforce

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Posted with permission from cyberFEDS The Department of Commerce is trying to expand the diversity and inclusion conversation with a "cutting edge initiative" to ensure socioeconomic status is considered along with traditional diversity dimensions such as race, ethnicity, gender, and national origin, Tinisha Agramonte, director of the Commerce Department's Office of Civil Rights, told cyberFEDS....

Spotlight on Commerce: Charles Clark, Jr., Director, Office of Human Capital Strategy and Diversity

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Blog post by Charles Clark, Jr., Director, Office of Human Capital Strategy and Diversity My name is Charles and I am a first-generation professional from Detroit, Michigan. I am the oldest of three boys raised by a single mother who never made more than $6/hr her entire life. I am a product of a mother with a strong work ethic, dedication, determination, and love, but also a beneficiary of...

Spotlight on Commerce: Ana Valentin, Enterprise Service Program Manager, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

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Blog post by Ana Valentin, Enterprise Service Program Manager, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) My name is Ana Valentín. I am a first-generation professional and I inspired 50% of my family’s next generation to complete a degree, and soon to be 90% by 2021. I did not have an easy ride going to college and entering the professional workplace. Living in a rural area required me...

Spotlight on Commerce: David Ziaya, Chief Administrative Officer U.S. Census Bureau

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Blog post by David Ziaya, Chief Administrative Officer U.S. Census Bureau My name is David Ziaya and I am currently the Chief Administrative Officer of the U.S. Census Bureau. I am a first-generation professional from a small, rural-based community of roughly 1,400 people in Michigan. Going to college was always the plan for me although my family couldn’t afford it. I earned some scholarships as...

Spotlight on Commerce: Stephanie Mendez, Senior Management Analyst, Office of the Secretary

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Blog post by Stephanie Mendez, Senior Management Analyst, Office of the Secretary My name is Stephanie Mendez, and I am a first-generation professional. I work as a Senior Management Analyst in the Office of the Secretary and am currently finishing a duel MBA from Johns Hopkins University. My family circumstances led me to call home to more than two-dozen cities along the east coast; from...

Spotlight on Commerce: Tariq Hafiz, Patent Examiner, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

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Blog post by Tariq Hafiz, Patent Examiner, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office My name is Tariq and I am a first-generation professional. I came to the United States of America at the age of 10 and immediately attended elementary school without knowing a word of English. I learned the English alphabet in the 4th grade. I was the only immigrant in the whole school. While growing up being an immigrant...

Spotlight on Commerce: Laura Shin, Deputy Chief, Federal Assistance Law Division

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Blog post by Laura Shin, Deputy Chief, Federal Assistance Law Division My name is Laura and I have encountered many of the experiences as a first-generation professional in the United States. My parents were college-educated in Seoul, South Korea and immigrated to the United States in the 1970s. Once they got to the U.S., they both had to begin their work lives all over again and in a new language...

Spotlight on Commerce: Ko Barrett, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Research, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

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Blog post by Ko Barrett, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Research, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) My name is Ko Barrett. I am a first-generation professional and the first person in my extended family to attend college. We were a working-class family of six, living in the “inner city” where crime was rampant and civil unrest was a fact of life during the turbulent late...