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Diversity and Inclusion

Asian American and Pacific Islander Employment Program

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) proudly leads the effort to build a diverse workforce and cultivate an inclusive work environment. We do this by developing and implementing policies and programs that promote diversity and inclusion in our workplace as we strive to ensure that VA’s workforce is drawn from the broadest segments of society so that it is poised to meet the present and future needs of our Nation's Veterans, their families, and beneficiaries.

The VA Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Special Emphasis Program is designed to develop and implement strategies to identify potential employment barriers in the areas of recruitment, hiring, promotion, career development and retention affecting the full participation of all race, ethnicity, and gender groups in VA’s workforce, including AAPIs. When barriers are identified, viable solutions are developed to help eliminate those barriers to employment and full participation at all levels of the agency. See 29 Code of Federal Regulation, Part 1614.102(b)(4) for more information.

AAPIs are the fastest growing racial group in the United States. According to the 2010 Census, the Asian population grew faster than any other race group in the United States between 2000 and 2010 (The Asian Population: 2010 Census Briefs [PDF]). By 2060, AAPIs are expected to increase over four times as rapidly as the total U.S. population and grow to more than 47 million (Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders: Issues and Facts).

According to OPM Standard Form 181, Ethnicity and Race Identification [PDF], a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam is Asian. A Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander is a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.

As one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse groups in the country, AAPIs trace their heritage to over 30 different countries and ethnic groups and speak over 100 languages and dialects. Although AAPIs have helped build a strong and vibrant U.S., many still face linguistic, economic, educational, and immigration barriers that often hinder them from achieving their full potential. The “model minority myth” – the belief that all AAPIs are educated, wealthy, and successful – has prevented AAPI communities from fully benefitting from federal programs and resources available to vulnerable and underserved communities.

Executive Orders

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Affinity Organizations

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MOUs and Partnership Agreements

VA maintains Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with the following affinity organizations:

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External Affinity Conferences Approved for VA-wide Participation (VA External Affinity Conferences Memo [PDF])

For more information on external affinity conferences approved for VA-wide participation, please visit the following:

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Observances (VA SEP Observances Memo [PDF])

ORMDI provides a SEP Observances Toolkit as guidance to field facilities on implementing activities for special observances, including the following:

  • Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (May)

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Plans and Reports

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ORMDI does not offer or conduct employment services. Please visit the following:

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Internal Resources

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External Government Resources

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Program Contact

Note: This page links to external information on the Internet. VA is not responsible for the content or privacy policies of these Web sites, and linking to these sites does not constitute endorsement by VA of the sites' sponsors or the information, products, or services they provide.

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