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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 survivors.

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 additional information.

On October 14, 2009, President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13515 to restore the White House Advisory Commission and Interagency Working Group to address issues concerning the AAPI community and increase their participation in federal programs. This action renews previous Executive Orders, which established the President's Advisory Commission and a federal Interagency Working Group on AAPIs, increased economic opportunities for, and worked to improve the quality of life of AAPIs living in the U.S. and Pacific Island jurisdictions.

On May 13, 2019, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order on Economic Empowerment of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in order to empower Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to improve the quality of their lives, raise the standard of living of their families and communities, and more fully participate in our economy.

AAPIs are the fastest growing racial group in the United States. According to the U.S. Census, the Asian American population grew by 46% from 2000 to 2010, faster than any other major racial group nationwide. There are now over 18.9 million Asian Americans living in the United States. 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.

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.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission maintains a list of the origins that are typically associated with the term “Asian” or “Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander"

For more information, contact VA's National Asian American and Pacific Islander Employment Program Manager or, for additional resources, visit the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month page.

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MOUs and Partnership Agreements

  • Memorandum of Understanding between VA and FAPAC (PDF)
  • Memorandum of Understanding between VA, AAFEA and AAGEN (PDF)

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Executive Orders

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Program Links

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Related Links

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