Statement of the U.S. Department Of Labor

Meeting of July 22, 2008 - Issues Facing Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in the Federal Workplace

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we were unable to send a representative to deliver an oral statement at the EEOC hearing. Below is our written statement for the EEOC's record.

Based on the demographics of its workforce, the Department of Labor (DOL), under the leadership of Secretary Elaine L. Chao, has implemented a strategic approach to succession planning, particularly in management positions and reinforces the importance of diversity in the workplace.

Current estimates indicate that 64% of DOL's Senior Executive Service and 50.4% of supervisory/managerial staff in GS grades 13-15 will be eligible to retire in the next five years. In response, DOL has successfully developed and implemented three programs: the Senior Executive Service (SES) Candidate Development Program, the Management Development Program (MDP), and the MBA Fellows Program. The DOL Mentoring Program is an additional tool that provides employees the opportunity to enhance self-knowledge and career development.

All DOL succession planning programs include the following elements:

  • Training to develop executive core qualifications (ECQs);
  • Individual mentoring;
  • Rotational assignments; and
  • Developmental plans.

The Senior Executive Service (SES) Candidate Development Program (CDP)

Three SES CDP classes have completed the 12 to 18 month program since the program's inception in September 1999. In the first two classes, 100% of the 36 candidates completing the program received OPM certification for SES placement, and 19 (53%) of those individuals were placed in SES positions. A third SES CDP class of 20 concluded in May 2007. Of the 56 total graduates from the three SES CDP classes, the Department retained 45 (80%) of them after completing the program. Of the 19 graduates who have been placed into SES positions, 17 were retained for at least three years following graduation and 15 continue to be employed by DOL. The Department's SES CDP is critical to ensure that DOL is able to meet the at least 70% anticipated attrition in our career SES ranks.

Asian Pacific American graduates from three classes: 5 graduates (9%)

The Management Development Program

The Management Development Program (MDP) prepares select mid-level staff at the GS-12 to 14 levels with the skills necessary to become future managers and/or supervisors within the Department. The MDP provides a series of intensive developmental experiences for selected candidates. Participants in the program complete a 12-18 month developmental program that includes the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) 360º competency assessment, classroom training, and rotational assignments designed to develop and enhance managerial competencies. So far, 86 employees participated in the program and 49 (57%) have received promotions to managerial or supervisory positions.

Asian Pacific American graduates from three classes: 2 graduates (3%)

MBA Fellows Program

The MBA Fellows Program seeks potential leaders who demonstrate competency in the areas of strategic thinking, quantitative analysis, program management, and marketing. The MBA Fellows go through a 2 year structured program of training and rotational assignments which exposes them to various DOL programs and initiatives. At the end of the two years and their successful completion of the program requirements, they may be converted to a permanent career position with the Federal government. The program's goal is to retain at least 70% of all participants, current and former, over a period of three years. Since 2003, there have been seven classes with a total of 108 participants. DOL retained 77 (71.3%) of these fellows - exceeding our own established target.

Asian Pacific American participants in seven classes: 15 participants (14%)

DOL Mentoring Program

The DOL mentoring program is a twelve month program that provides a series of developmental experiences for a number of matched mentoring pairs. The current program has 83 matched pairs for a total of 166 mentors and mentees. The program is designed to foster career development, expand the mentee's knowledge, skills and abilities, and broaden understanding of the DOL and its programs. The mentoring program also supports the development of a diverse and high performing workforce that is capable of adapting to a rapidly changing workplace environment.

Participation in the mentoring program is open to all DOL employees at GS-11 and above. Mentees are at the GS-11 through GS-13 and mentors are at the GS-13 and above level. The Program requires that mentee and mentor create a Mentee/Mentor Agreement, develop a Mentoring Action Plan, and participate in periodic program progress meetings. Mentees and mentors are expected to attend program orientation and core training sessions, meet on a regular basis for the duration of the program, and complete program evaluations to help refine the program for future years.

Asian Pacific American participants in the program: 8 participants (4.8 %)

Annual Asian Pacific American Federal Career Advancement Summit

To help APAs access career and leadership opportunities in the federal government, Secretary Chao initiated the annual Asian Pacific American Federal Career Advancement Summit in May 2001. It is hosted by DOL and co-sponsored by OPM.

For the past seven years, this unprecedented annual training program aims to equip APA federal government employees with the skill sets to become leaders in senior executive and management positions in the Federal government. The Summit focuses on providing management insights, skills training and other career development opportunities to help APA government employees maximize their potential through speakers, workshops, career coaching, and exhibit booths. Demonstrating the interest and need for such training, interest in the Summit has grown from 200 attendees in 2001 to 1,300 attendees in 2008, and attendees represent the full spectrum of federal employees from across special emphasis programs.

In conjunction with the 2004 and 2006 Summits, DOL introduced the Asian Pacific American Federal Career Guide, which explains the federal job search process, as a tool to help the federal government generate interest by job seekers from this community.

Performance Management System for Senior Executive Service Members

Finally, the Department of Labor, through the performance management system, ensures that its most senior leadership is held accountable for leading and promoting diversity. In their SES Performance Plans, all Senior Executive Service members are held accountable for performance against standard Managerial Competencies. As part of these competencies, each SES member is held accountable to "implement diversity initiatives that support the accomplishment of mission goals and strategies and fosters an inclusive workplace where diversity and individual differences are valued."

Other activities at the senior leadership level reinforce the effort to extend diversity at DOL.

The Department's Executive Resources Board (ERB) takes an active role in Succession Planning through their involvement in making recommendations to the Secretary on personnel actions for current SES members and in selections for the Candidate Development Program. In addition, the Performance Review Board (PRB) ensures the equity in performance ratings and recognition of the Department's Senior Executives. The Department strives to ensure that the diversity of both the ERB and PRB is representative of the diversity of our SES cadre.

This page was last modified on July 22, 2008.