May 31, 2024

Today, the White House Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) hosted a webinar which focused on careers in public service as part of its celebration of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) Heritage Month. It featured voices of government leaders from across AA and NHPI communities. The overarching goal of the event was to inspire members of AA and NHPI communities, and others, to pursue government service, particularly in the cyber workforce. This was done in full alignment with the National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy (NCWES), which reinforces the Biden-Harris Administration’s recognition that a more “diverse and inclusive cyber workforce will broaden the range of ideas brought to bear on complex cyber challenges.”

Seeyew Mo, Assistant National Cyber Director for Cyber Workforce, Training and Education at ONCD opened the event and introduced Kota Mizutani, who provided welcoming remarks. Mizutani is a Senior Advisor for Public Engagement and serves as the Office of Public Engagement’s primary liaison to AA and NHPI communities. His remarks underscored the Administration’s commitment to support opportunity and equity for AA and NHPI communities.

Following Mizutani’s inspiring remarks, Portia Wu, Secretary of Labor for the State of Maryland, presented a keynote address in which she discussed, from her unique perspective, her professional activities and her career in both public and private sector settings.  She also described the aftermath of the recent Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore, as well as how advanced technologies have been employed to facilitate an impressively rapid response and recovery operation.

“Public service is about joining hands to tackle big problems and find solutions,” said Secretary Wu. “As an Asian American in government service, I’ve been able to see first-hand the value of being part of a broader community and having opportunities. Both of my parents spent their careers in government service caring for sick and injured veterans, so for me, continuing in public service is something I do to honor my heritage and my family’s ethic of service, but also to contribute to our country and its future.”

After Wu’s insightful keynote address, Seeyew Mo moderated a panel discussion with other members of AA and NHPI communities who are leaders from various Federal departments and agencies. Each of the panelists, drawing from their personal and professional life experiences, shared how their backgrounds have shaped their paths and informed decisions they have made throughout their careers. They also addressed  challenges they have encountered, as well as the benefits of public service. The panel featured:

  1. Olivia Zhu, Assistant Director for Artificial Intelligence (AI) Policy, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)
  2. Kaschit Pandya, Chief Technology Officer, Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  3. Dr. Ambareen Siraj, Program Director, National Science Foundation (NSF)
  4. Chris Kuang, Co-Founder and Deputy Director, U.S. Digital Corps, General Services Administration (GSA)

“Our speakers and panelists today embody the unmatchable value of a diverse talent pool that brings rich backgrounds and experiences to their work. AA and NHPI heritage has long been a part of the history of our country, and AA and NHPI peoples – like the leaders here today – have shaped the very fabric of our Nation and opened up new possibilities for all of us,” said Mo. “These leaders have all taken unique paths to public service, but they are united in their passion and commitment to serving our country and meeting the challenges of the future.”

This webinar builds on the Biden-Harris Administration’s once-in-a-generation investments to improve the lives of AA and NHPI families and communities. In January 2023, the Administration released its first-ever National Strategy to Advance Equity, Justice, and Opportunity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) Communities. Key progress on these priorities include:

  1. Since taking office, the Biden-Harris Administration has provided over $22 billion in loans to AA and NHPI entrepreneurs, resulting in the highest Asian American employment and entrepreneurship rates in over a decade.
  2. In March 2024, the White House Office of Management and Budget revised the Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity for the first time in 27 years, helping ensure that AA and NHPI individuals can more fully self-identify by specific ethnicity. Better data leads to better and more informed policies that reflect the needs and priorities of AA and NHPI communities.
  3. In September 2023, President Biden issued the first-ever White House proclamation to recognize National Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), which confer almost 50% of associate degrees and nearly 30% of baccalaureate degrees upon all people who are AA and NHPIs in the United States. This Administration delivered $5 billion in ARP funds to support AANAPISIs.

More information about AA and NHPI Heritage Month can be found at on the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders website and resources page.

To view the complete webinar please click here.

For Additional Resources:

ONCD Workforce Resources

White House OPE homepage

White House OPE newsletter

Current Federal Government AI Priorities and Jobs

Maryland Governor’s Service Year Option

State of Maryland Job Openings (Executive Branch)

Facebook Page for State of Maryland Job Openings

NSF Education and Training Application

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