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Thursday May 2, 2002

Labor Secretary Elaine Chao Hosts Asian Career Fair

Yueska Honda

U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao hosted a career summit Wednesday to address the shortage of Asian-American federal employees in senior-level positions. The summit was planned to help kick off May APA Heritage Month celebrations.

'I am committed to helping Asian Pacific Americans advance in the federal government by equipping them with the necessary training, skills and resources,' Chao said. 'I feel a deep commitment to help Asian Pacific Americans access the opportunities to serve their country in the senior levels of our government.'

Secretary Chao is the first Asian-American woman to serve in the Cabinet. President George W. Bush has appointed a historic number of 16 Americans of Asian Pacific descent to serve him in cabinet or sub-cabinet positions.

The summit was designed to help overcome two of the challenges faced by the federal workforce: a major human capital shortage as the baby boomer generation retires over the next five years and an insufficient number of Asian Americans in the federal workforce—currently, only 2.1 percent of Asian Americans serve in the senior executive levels.

Chao's co-host was U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Kay Coles James.

'We can and must do more to apply the outstanding talent found in the Asian Pacific American community to the realm of public service,' James said. 'At OPM, we are working to encourage the best and the brightest to join the federal government and provide them with the necessary tools that will allow them to excel.'

The summit featured top Bush administration officials and professional skills development workshops. Workshops focused on managerial skills development and assisting qualified candidates in meeting criteria for

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