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Latinos Lag In Us Workforce

Washington, DC-Calling the results "unacceptable," Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, called on the Obama administration to strengthen its efforts to recruit, hire, retain, and promote qualified Latinos in the federal government following the release of the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) Ninth Annual Report on Hispanic Employment in the Federal Government. This is especially critical given that the Latino unemployment rate is currently 12.6%.

"It is almost unbelievable that, at a time when Latinos are the fastest-growing segment of the labor force, the rate of federal Hispanic hiring is actually going down," said Murguía. "That the numbers are going in the wrong direction is evidence of a deep, systemic failure."

Among the findings of the report:

  • The percentage of Hispanics in the federal workforce is 8.0%, while Hispanics make up 13.2% of the civilian workforce.
  • Hispanic representation among new hires dropped from 9.2% in the previous reporting period (July 2007-June 2008) to 7.3% in the most recent period (July 2008-June 2009).
  • Hispanic new hires in the Student Career Experience Program dropped from 5.1% to 4.9%.

"We recognize that this is a long-standing problem," Murguía continued. "We understand it cannot be solved overnight, and we commend OPM Director John Berry and Deputy Director Christine Griffin for taking some initial steps toward development of a comprehensive strategy. Latinos now need the federal government to step forward and be a champion for our community.

"Government jobs, which offer good wages, benefits, and pensions, traditionally serve as a critical pathway to the middle class for disadvantaged groups. The chronic exclusion of Latinos from the federal government directly contributes to societal inequality."

NCLR believes that the absence of Hispanics in key positions undermines the government's ability to design and execute strategies to reach the growing Latino population. "This is vital to all Americans, since we cannot improve our overall well-being if we fail to include the nation's largest and fastest-growing ethnic minority," Murguía added.

"We commend the president and the White House for the increased rate of Latino political appointments, but the lack of Latino representation in the federal workforce is another story. It is our hope that the administration will demonstrate the same commitment to increasing the Latino federal workforce as it did on appointments," Murguía concluded.

For more information, please visit www.nclr.org | www.facebook.com/nationalcounciloflaraza | www.myspace.com/nclr2008 | http://twitter.com/nclr.

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