I’m in Tulsa, Oklahoma for the Society of American Indian Government Employees (SAIGE) 2011 Conference. One of my favorite parts of serving as Director of OPM is the opportunity to work with so many amazingly dedicated, talented Americans who have chosen to work as public servants.
Many of our Federal public servants are American Indians and Alaska Natives, and I came to share information with them and seek their input. I also got to meet some of the young people attending the conference and I hope they will become Federal – and SAIGE – leaders of tomorrow.
OPM is engaged in meaningful consultation with American Indian and Alaska Native leaders about how to best add tribal employees to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. This exciting new opportunity, created by the Affordable Care Act, will be a great new benefit for tribal workers and their families.
We want input on how to build inclusive workplaces in the Federal government that will draw in more American Indians and Alaska Natives at all agencies, and help them succeed and get promoted.
I’m also interested in getting input from folks about our ongoing efforts to hire more veterans into the Federal government through President Obama’s Veterans’ Employment Initiative. American Indians and Alaskan Natives have a long and proud history in the US military, and I am always eager to add their skills, experience and perspective to the Federal family.
We also want to hear Indian country’s thoughts on how to hire more of your students and recent graduates through the President’s Student Pathways initiative. We’ll seek comments on the draft regulations when they come out this summer, and we’ll visit tribal colleges and universities in the fall.
Meaningful consultation and collaboration will lead to innovative solutions that help government deliver better services at lower cost – for Indian country and all of America.
John Berry is Director of the Office of Personnel Management.