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National Institutes of Health’s
Hispanic Employment Program
Strategic Plan

Executive Summary

One of Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management’s (OEODM) highest priorities has been to undertake a serious effort to strengthen the NIH’s workforce and management capabilities while addressing workforce diversity issues. On April 4, 2001, the Acting Director of the NIH announced the NIH Policy on Diversity Management and directed the NIH to build and manage a talented and diverse workforce. Under this policy, NIH managers have an opportunity and responsibility to address the longstanding underrepresentation and underutilization of Hispanics within its workforce.

This Hispanic Employment Program (HEP) is tied to the overall NIH Policy on Diversity Management. The Diversity Management Policy and the HEP will be institutionalized in all facets of NIH operations. Through the HEP the NIH is seeking to build relationships with Hispanic communities and engage them in the NIH’s vast scientific, technical, and research operations. The HEP calls for strengthening the NIH’s outreach activities in a comprehensive effort to promote partnership opportunities with the Hispanic community in three critical areas: employment, education, and biomedical research.

The HEP has been developed to address and assist in reversing the underrepresentation and underutilization of Hispanics in NIH. The HEP seeks to assist in the recruitment of talented candidates from outside the NIH; retain, promote, and develop current employees; and create a pipeline for addressing current and future workforce needs.

This Strategic Plan is challenging, manageable, measurable, and consistent with and supportive of the NIH’s Affirmative Employment Plan (AEP) and the Hispanic Agenda for Action Plan. The HEP needs total commitment from all managers and employees to meet its goals and objectives.

The successful accomplishment of HEP goals is predicated on three strategic actions:

  • Educating the Hispanic and NIH communities about the opportunities at the NIH and the value of increasing the Hispanic workforce.
  • Creating effective working partnerships with both internal and external organizations in order to correct the underrepresentation and underutilization of Hispanic at the NIH.
  • Communicating the successes and activities of the HEP across all sectors of the NIH community to focus attention on issues surrounding Hispanic employment at the NIH.


The underrepresentation of Hispanics in the Federal workforce first received attention in 1970, when President Nixon issued the Federal government’s Sixteen Point Program. The program outlined 16 steps that the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and other agencies could undertake to ensure equal opportunity in Federal employment for Hispanics. Issued initially as a press release, it was incorporated into regulation by the CSC (now the Office of Personnel Management) on January 23, 1973. The Sixteen Point Program eventually evolved into the Federal government’s “Hispanic Employment Program.” From 1973 to the present, Hispanic underrepresentation has remained constant throughout the Federal government, the nation’s largest employer.

In 1994, President Clinton posed the challenge of creating a government reflective of America’s diverse population for the 21st Century. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) responded to the President’s challenge, and in September 1997 issued a memorandum to all Cabinet and sub-Cabinet members raising concerns of Hispanic underrepresentation in the Federal government. OPM also issued a “Nine-Point Plan” which provided direction for addressing Hispanic underrepresentation. Addressing this issue is a major priority of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, which is comprised of over 30 national Hispanic organizations and leaders from across the country.

On March 3, 1999, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) submitted a report to the President’s Management Council (PMC) on Hispanic Employment in the Federal government. According to OPM: While Hispanics are the fastest growing segment of our population, it is the most underrepresented in our government. Hispanics comprise 11.8% of the civilian labor force and 6.6% of the Federal workforce – the only major group severely underrepresented in the Federal civilian service.

OPM’s report provided various strategies to address Hispanic underrepresentation throughout Federal government. These strategies focus on specific goals and objectives Federal agencies should implement to corporately address Hispanic underrepresentation across government, including the areas of Senior Executive Service, General Employment, Student Employment and Academic Relations, Career Development, and Management Accountability.

On October 16, 2000, President Clinton signed Executive Order 13171, Hispanic Employment in the Federal Government, in order to improve the representation of Hispanics in Federal employment. As specified in the Executive Order, in addition to affirming current policies, each agency is required to take steps to establish and maintain a program for recruitment and career development of Hispanics in Federal employment. These steps should include further partnerships and cooperation among Federal, public, and private sector employers and appropriate Hispanic organizations to promote Federal employment of qualified individuals.

Federal agencies, including NIH, must take a proactive stance in addressing Hispanic underrepresentation in the Federal government. According to recent Census Bureau data, Hispanic Americans number over 38.8 million, becoming the Nation’s largest minority group. Furthermore, the Census Bureau reports that by the year 2050, one in four Americans will be of Hispanic descent. The significant increase in the Hispanic population will give rise to a large influx of minorities into America’s workforce. NIH must be prepared to effectively manage the recruitment, selection, and hiring of Hispanics into the Federal workforce of the new millennium, and should act immediately to plan to fill its workforce needs. According to OPM, Hispanics are the most severely underrepresented minority group in the Federal government. Hispanics comprise 6.7% of the total Federal workforce compared with 11.8% of the civilian labor force (CLF), and 3% of Senior Executive Service (SES) employees. Hispanics number 626, which is 3.3% of the total NIH workforce. This is only half the Federal average. There is a clear and compelling need to address this underrepresentation within NIH, and to take the necessary steps to significantly improve representation at all grade levels.

Recruitment and Hiring

Entry/Mid Level Employment

  • Identify and assess utilization of current entry-level intern programs to develop diverse groups of professional, administrative, and scientific trainees.
  • Promote increased recruitment at the GS-5 and GS-7 level for positions covered by the Luevano consent decree 1 and use the Outstanding Scholar and Bilingual/Bicultural hiring authorities as a supplemental authority with competitive examining.
  • Research NIH recruitment strategies used to target Hispanics through professional organizations (e.g., SACNAS), publications (e.g., Hispanic Engineer Magazine), and colleges and universities (e.g., the University of New Mexico).
  • Review the language in requirements and ranking factors in vacancy announcements to ensure they are not restrictive or biased in nature and that areas of consideration are broadened, where possible.
  • Initiate dialogue to establish long-term relationships with Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Hispanic organizations and advocacy groups, e.g., LULAC and NCLR and Hispanic professional organizations, e.g., SACNAS and Hispanic MBAs.
  • Identify and target five HSIs that graduate individuals with degrees that meet NIH job needs. Partner with these HSIs to identify twenty graduates who qualify for Outstanding Scholar appointments to be interviewed for positions at NIH.
  • Identify existing High School Intern/Apprentice Programs that prepare students for jobs and careers in the NIH and create awareness of these programs among local school systems with large Hispanic populations.
  • Develop NIH recruitment and career planning presentations/workshops for Hispanic Serving Institutions and other Hispanic organizations.
  • Host a National Institutes of Health Youth and NIH Career Awareness Symposium.
  • Develop a Minority Recruitment Calendar that lists educational and professional organizations, dates, and target audience.

Senior-Level Employment (GS-13 and above)

  • Review SES search and placement procedures and ensure effective outreach tools are utilized to actively recruit qualified Hispanic candidates for senior-level position. Tools may include employing executive search firms and advertising in minority publication.
  • Create awareness among NIH recruitment personnel about the wide variety of Hispanic recruitment sources that can yield potential SES applicants (e.g., National Association of Hispanic Federal Executives, NOMAR, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, etc.)
  • Create awareness among high-potential NIH Hispanic employees of SES opportunities.
  • Create awareness among NIH Hispanic employees of existing executive/leadership training programs.
  • Identify and promote awareness of government-wide and NIH executive development training programs among high-potential Hispanic candidates in order to increase opportunities for inclusion in SES selection pools.
  • Inform NIH minority employee groups and other Federal government Hispanic Employment Program Managers (HEPMs) about hiring and promotion opportunities and utilize their networks for identifying qualified candidates for senior positions.
  • Review the participation of EEO Officers on NIH-administered Executive Resources Boards, Performance Review Boards, Qualification Review Boards, and SES Selection Panels.
  • Ensure that IC Affirmative Action Plans contain goals to address Hispanic underrepresentation within the IC’s workforce. Monitor implementation of actions designed to achieve results.


  • Review IC's internal employment practices undertaken to retain Hispanic employees (e.g., use of retention bonuses, awards, promotions, etc.).
  • Review exit interview procedures, questionnaires, and data for Hispanic employees and make recommendations for improvement.


  • Review NIH Hispanic employee participation in existing skill-building training programs, conferences, and seminars.
  • Promote awareness among NIH Hispanic employees of opportunities to compete for managerial and executive and upward mobility training (e.g., SES Candidate School, Federal Executive Institute, and the Executive Potential Program).
  • Review NIH nomination process among Hispanics and other employees (GS-6 through GS-13) for participation in Leadership, and Executive Potential Programs and other developmental programs.
  • Develop and expand NIH-wide vehicles to communicate developmental opportunities for Hispanic employees.


The NIH’s senior-level management is primarily responsible for ensuring and emphasizing efforts to achieve a fully diverse workforce, inclusive of Hispanics. The Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management, through existing tracking and reporting mechanisms will assist the NIH Director, IC Directors, managers, and supervisors in accomplishing workforce diversity by implementing and monitoring workforce profiles and measures. The NIH will take the following action items to promote accountability and results with respect to Hispanic employment.

  • Periodically update and review organizational Hispanic workforce goals and achievements.
  • Submit HEP Annual Status Report to the Director, OEODM on the NIH’s progress towards improving the underrepresentation of Hispanics.
  • Develop and deliver a presentation to senior-level NIH groups, executives, and managers to introduce and explain the goals and importance of the Hispanic Employment Program, in order to secure their support.