Workforce Diversity

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As America becomes more diverse, the federal workforce and its leadership should reflect the public we serve.  By 2020, almost one out of every five (19.5%) Americans will be of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) descent.  Yet AAPIs currently account for only 5.6% of the total federal workforce and only 4.4% of the Senior Executive Service (SES), the highest managerial level in the federal government.

The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders has been collaborating with federal agencies, colleges and universities, and community-based organizations to increase AAPI representation in the federal government at all levels, strengthening the pipeline for AAPIs to enter and advance up the ranks.


To increase AAPIs in federal service, the Initiative is raising student awareness of federal internship opportunities.

  • The Initiative has mapped and created a contact list of 150 schools that have high AAPI populations, and provided these direct points of contact to internship coordinators and federal agencies.
  • The Initiative also conducted its first Twitter town hall chat, in which AAPI students learned about federal internship opportunities by interacting directly with internship program coordinators from 11 different federal agencies. Students also learned about the Pathways Program, where agencies offer paid internships with the possibility of converting to permanent jobs upon graduation. As a result of this event, federal agencies, outside organizations, and students can continue to use the hashtag #AAPIFederalIntern to alert the AAPI community about internship, fellowship, and scholarship opportunities in the federal government.
  • Since 2012, the Initiative has hosted a series of AAPI Leadership Roundtables, connecting federal leaders with young people interested in careers in public service.


The Initiative worked with the Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) to launch the FAPAC Challenge Team Program. Launched at the White House Initiative Federal Employee Conference on July 12, 2013, the FAPAC Challenge Teams is an innovative project-oriented, experiential training-based program targeted at developing skills for emerging federal employee leaders while working to solve the dilemmas facing the federal government when addressing the needs of AAPI federal employees and communities.

Senior Executive Service

The Initiative has partnered with the Office of Personnel Management, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Asian American Government Executive Network (AAGEN) to support the creation of AAGEN’s Senior Executive Service Development Program. The program identifies and aids applicants in preparation for the SES selection process through intensive training, education, and mentoring. This program bolsters the career ladder for AAPIs in government and addresses a key AAPI employment gap. The program is now in its third year.



Mid Level

Senior Executive Service