OCRDI Director's Corner
Greetings APHIS Colleagues!
Have you ever wondered if what you do really matters? My grandfather, Ike Johnson was a wise man. He once told me that what you do today, will either help or hurt you tomorrow. What he said did not make sense to me then, but as I grew older, what he was trying to teach me became clearer.
Our actions today really do affect the future. It does not matter what the instance or circumstance. You and I can influence the future, be it through our children, families, co-workers, subordinates, or the organizations where we work.
Comparing the 2000 Census to the 2010 Census gives us a glimpse of our power to influence the future with the hiring investment decisions we make today. The 2010 Census narrative states the 45 to 64 year old population grew 31.5% to 81.5 million. This age group now makes up 26.4% of the total U.S. population. The large growth among 45 to 64 year-olds is primarily because of the aging “baby boom” population. The 65 and older population also grew faster than younger population groups, at a rate of 15.1%, to 40.3 million people, or 13% of the total population.
For those under 18, and between the ages of 18 and 44, growth rates were much slower. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of people under 18 grew 2.6% to 74.2 million people, comprising 24% of the total population. The 18 to 44 age group grew at an even slower rate of 0.6% to 112.8 million, comprising 36.5% of the population.
Additionally, the U.S. male population grew at a slightly faster rate (9.9%), than the U.S. female population (9.5%). The current APHIS workforce follows the trend of the U.S. population. Our workforce is comprised of more males (60.62%), than females (39.38%), when compared to the 2010 Civilian Labor Force (CLF); 51.86% male, and 48.14% female.
APHIS’ employment gap between males and females is wider than the CLF. The CLF gap is 3.7%, while the APHIS gap is 20.94%, almost six times wider. We have a lot of work to do in order to close the gap, as envisioned in the original intent of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 74% of persons earning a Bachelor’s degree in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields are not employed in STEM occupations, and men continue to dominate the STEM fields.
A 2012 American Community Survey also reported that fewer science major graduates are employed in the STEMs. About 26% of physical science majors; 15% of biological, environmental and agricultural sciences majors; 10% of psychology majors; and 7% of social science majors were employed in STEM careers.
APHIS is a STEM-based organization, and our potential candidate pool is small. As an agency, we have an opportunity to influence the future by continuing to invest in programs like Ag-Discovery ( a program that exposes young people 12 to 17 years old to STEM fields), USDA Scholarship Programs (1890s, Public Service, 1994, Jesse Helms, and Saul T. Wilson), that provide a formal education and work experience to students who have shown an interest in STEM fields, and internship programs, including the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and Pathways.
I guess many of you are saying, I don’t hire anyone, so how can I invest? The opportunities are limitless. It’s called OUTREACH. We can tell our children, neighbors, schools, colleges, and universities about APHIS programs and occupations. We can encourage participation in Ag-Discovery and USDA scholarship programs. Outreach can be done at Headquarters, and in the field. Any time you talk to someone about APHIS programs, it is outreach. Outreach can be achieved without respect to grade, position, ethnicity, or socio-economic level.
We all have an opportunity to influence the future. Our investments today will either help or hurt our children, families, co-workers, subordinates, and organizations tomorrow.
The Future is now.