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Working for the Federal Government & Defense Contractors

 The federal government and defense sector is abundant with opportunity as it builds strength via diversity and inclusion.
With about 2.8 million diverse employees, the military and federal government remain strong employers. Plus, by most estimates, the government and military sector will continue to be strong employers well into the future as more mature workers leave the ranks, thereby making room for more job seekers.
With the help of several designated departments, as well as agencies, military branches and defense contractors, the U. S. federal government protects the country from attacks, both in real life and in the cyberworld.
In particular, each government and defense contractor that contributes to this key mission of protecting the American people is charged with a different facet that’s crucial to the nation’s online and offline defense. These government and defense contractors provide much-needed products and services that assist the federal government in keeping America safe and secure. And this opens up opportunities for job seekers.
Government and defense employers also realize the benefit of having a workforce that’s both diverse and inclusive. The diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives they’ve championed and implemented, and their efforts to reach and support a variety of employees, have led to more members of minority groups and diverse cultures, women, veterans and people with disabilities joining the sector.
Here, in this issue on the following pages, we spotlight several government and defense employers, and their D&I initiatives and programs to attract a diversified pool of talent, and to create an inclusive work environment.
L3Harris: Leveraging Inclusivity to Push Innovation
L3Harris Technologies is a global aerospace and defense company providing advanced technologies across air, land, sea, space and cyber domains. Based in Melbourne, FL, the company provides global intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), communications and network, and electric systems for military, homeland security, and commercial aviation customers worldwide.
The global technology innovator has 3,000-plus awarded patents and employs more than 50,000 people around the world- 20,000-plus of whom are scientists and engineers. From developing advanced defense and commercial solutions in areas such as pilot training, cyber security, and electronic warfare, the diverse and inclusive culture enables their varied and vast workforce to develop technologies that are helping change the way its customers meet their goals.
“By continuously investing in engagement and inclusion initiatives at the corporate and local levels, L3Harris has forged stronger customer relationships, developed more innovative solutions, and attracted the best and the brightest to join our team. For L3Harris, focusing on inclusion is the right thing to do and it just makes good business sense,” says Kirsten Wilkers, vice president of talent and inclusion.
At L3Harris, engagement and inclusion drives appreciation of the rich dimensions of differences within its workforce that fuel group dynamics, and it fosters an environment where all individuals and teams are welcome to participate and perform to their full potential.
“We strive to attract, retain and engage talented and diverse professionals to ensure a competitive edge in the global marketplace and we value diverse ideas, perspectives, experiences, backgrounds and lifestyles. Vibrant, diverse communities are foundational to our engaged workforce and our culture of inclusivity is core to our commitment to innovation,” says Wilkers.
L3Harris has eight employee resource groups (ERGs) that connect employees across the company to provide an inclusive platform and showcase what can be accomplished through diverse thinking. One of the ERGs is the Supporting Emergency Responder and Veteran Engagement (SERVE) ERG which connects employees who have a military and emergency responder backgrounds. Members receive support for issues that affect the SERVE community, including adjusting to post-service life.
Bill Ostrowski, director of business development and the chair of the SERVE ERG, has set out to further promote the positive attributes veterans of the military and emergency responder service bring to the company through events such as mentoring and assimilation programs, guest speaker events and giving back to the community in partnership with the company’s volunteer program, L3Harris Investing for Tomorrow (LIFT).
“The combination of the ERG’s activities coupled with supportive leadership champions will serve to ensure that veterans create value to the company,” says Ostrowski.
The other ERGs include Asian Professionals for Excellence (APEX), Early Career Professionals (ECP), Hispanic/Latino Organization for Leadership & Advancement (HOLA), Intrapreneurs, L3Harris Employees of African Descent (LEAD), Pride (LGBTQ+) and Women Who Strive for Empowering, Enhancing, & Encouraging Other Women (We3).
Other ways L3Harris attracts, retains, and promotes a diverse and inclusive workforce include its dedication to close the gender gap by developing, promoting and providing opportunities forcollaborate on all efforts to develop fair and equitable policies that support diversity and inclusion (D&I).
The IRS recognizes local and national employee resource groups such as IRS-DEAF, Visually Impaired Employees Workforce (VIEW), and Military Outreach for Service (MOS), plus organizations that support specific races, creeds, and national origins.
In addition, the IRS emphasizes the importance of considering candidates that can be hired under either Schedule A (disability) or 30% disabled veteran before using a competitive authority.
The IRS actively recruits and retains individuals with disabilities (IWD) and veterans with disabilities. Using networking tools, online webinars, its official YouTube channel - youtube.com/user/irsvideos - and conference calls, as well as maintaining open communication with statewide Departments of Vocational Rehabilitation, all allow the IRS to tap into resources at a moment’s notice.
The IRS further partners with D&I offices at colleges and universities, including institutions that have veteran and individuals with disabilities (IWD) student populations.
The core occupations at the IRS focus on customer service, tax processing, and tax auditing and collection. Seasonal workers are needed every year to support tax processing and customer service operations. Tax auditing occupations require some accounting education. Opportunities also exist in field offices and for working independently, reviewing tax audits and more.
On the IRS website, irs.gov, job seekers with disabilities can learn more about the Schedule A hiring authority and the application process, reasonable accommodation, affinity groups, World Services for the Blind and the IRS, and the Schedule A resume portal, among other things.
Investigate jobs.irs.gov and USAJOBS.gov for IRS job possibilities. Connect on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram.
FDA: Supporting a Diverse Workforce
The Silver Spring, MD-based U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is an operating division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It’s dedicated to the protection and advancement of the public health. The FDA is also a scientific agency that regulates the safety and efficacy of America’s foods, drugs, and medical devices.
To successfully perform its critical mission, the FDA actively recruits highly qualified administrative, professional and scientific talent from around the world. It also attends job fairs throughout the U.S. to promote and recruit for mission-critical medical and science positions to strengthen the public health mission. The FDA’s 10,000 employees represent the organization’s most valuable asset: its human capital.
“Ensuring a high-quality, diverse, and motivated workforce is a key FDA objective, and it’s committed to the principles of equity and diversity in the workplace to remain a high-performing agency in the 21st century,” according to the FDA on its website.
To this end, the FDA’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity (OEEO) has established a Diversity and Inclusion Steering Council and Advisory Council, which serves as an advisory body on matters of employee diversity. Its purpose is to lead the way in finding new and innovative approaches toward making the agency an employer of choice for everyone.
By supporting and encouraging the contributions of its employees and their efforts toward accomplishing the mission of the agency, it fosters a sense of belonging and inclusion that yields significant current and future dividends for the regulatory agency.
Focus on www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/WorkingatFDA/default.htm and USAJOBS.gov for FDA careers. Connect on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Lockheed Martin: Building on D&I
Diversity and inclusion (D&I) is the foundation of Lockheed Martin’s workplace philosophy.
In fact, the Bethesda, MD-based global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 110,000 people worldwide, and that’s principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services recognizes D&I as key component to its entire business.
As a result, in a highly competitive market, Lockheed Martin is a place where everyone is able to voice their ideas and apply their abilities and skills to solve its customers’ toughest challenges.
“Diversity and inclusion are the foundation of our culture, and reflect our values of doing what's right, respecting others, and performing with excellence. By leveraging our employees’ unique talents and experiences, we deliver innovative, affordable solutions, and unparalleled customer value,” touts the company on its website.
Lockheed Martin is committed to promoting D&I from the CEO down to every employee across the entire corporation, from its employee resource groups (ERGs) and employee networks to its inclusion councils.
This commitment has yielded recognition for its efforts, commitment and dedication, including being noted as a leading disability employer by the National Organization on Disability (NOD), as well as by the readers of CAREERS & the disABLED magazine.
“We’re creating a better today and a better tomorrow, attracting innovators from unexpected places and seamlessly aligning diversity and inclusion efforts with Lockheed Martin’s values and business strategy,” notes the company.
At Lockheed Martin diversity is defined as the various attributes people possess based on characteristics from birth, as well as life experiences and decisions. Inclusion is defined as acknowledging and leveraging diversity by creating an environment where employees feel welcomed, respected, engaged, and able to bring their full selves to work to develop innovative solutions that drive business success.
Thus, building a diverse and inclusive work environment ensures Lockheed is able to attract, develop and retain a diverse workforce - which includes people with disabilities - that has the chance to showcase and develop their various skills and abilities, and help the company increase diversity of thought and push innovation in a global marketplace with a diversified workforce that reflects its clients around the world.
Lockheed’s comprehensive employee community, Able & Allies, is one such initiative that helps the company achieve these goals. It’s comprised of employee- and leader-specific resources including ERGs, an Ambassador Program and an annual Leadership Forum that creates a place to discuss enterprise-wide matters affecting the workforce where people can address everything from hiring to workplace accommodations on an enterprise level.
Launched in 2015, the program originally highlighted 25 employees to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Ambassadors gave a face to the Able & Allies community by empowering employees to self-nominate and volunteer to share their personal and professional experiences to spotlight all types of disabilities, both apparent and non-apparent.
The program continues today, adding more ambassadors who are sharing their personal stories each year. Sharing ambassadors have created a dialogue that has helped wipe away the stigma around disabilities, and empowered employees at all levels. While ambassadors have had various speaking opportunities to share, each ambassador has also had his or her story emblazoned on a poster with his or her image.
Log onto lockheedmartinjobs.com for Lockheed job opportunities. Connect on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Department of State: Promoting D&I Worldwide
As the lead U.S. foreign affairs agency, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) represents the country at more than 270 diplomatic locations around the world, including embassies, consulates and missions to international organizations.
The Department leads America’s foreign policy via diplomacy, advocacy, and assistance by advancing the interests of the American people, their safety and economic prosperity. On behalf of the American people, DOS promotes and demonstrates democratic values and advance a free, peaceful, and prosperous world.
The Department is also responsible for promoting peace and stability in areas of vital interest to America, and helping developing nations establish stable economic environments. It’s a source of support for American businesses abroad, working to achieve fair business practices in commerce, trade, manufacturing, and other interests while also identifying viable opportunities for American businesses.
The Department of State also provides information and services for U.S. citizens traveling abroad, including passport issuance, and it issues visas to foreigners who wish to visit the U.S.
“Department of State employees, with their skills, character and commitment to public service, are the backbone of America’s diplomacy. They represent the American people, advocate U.S. interests to the rest of the world, and are America’s first line of defense in a complex and often dangerous world,” notes DOS on its website.
As such, DOS relies on all employees, regardless of rank and title, to represent its mission and embrace a set of principles that encourages the highest degree of morale and productivity, and to set an expectation of leading by example.
In order to represent the U.S. to the world, the Washington, DC-headquartered State Department must have a workforce that reflects the rich composition of its citizenry. “The skills, knowledge, perspectives, ideas, and experiences of all of its employees contribute to the vitality and success of the global mission,” says DOS.
“Our commitment to inclusion must be evident in the face we present to the world and in the decision-making processes that represent our diplomatic goals. The keys to leading a diverse workforce successfully are commitment and persistence. Delivering strong and effective action requires every employee’s commitment to equal employment opportunity principles.”
It also encourages individualism in its workforce, and offers several employee organizations to help strengthen and support its diversity. To that end, it has numerous affinity groups for women, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, veterans, and other members of minority groups and diverse cultures. Also included is  the Disability Action Group (DAG).
DAG strives to promote the full and equal participation of people with disabilities Department-wide, improve disability awareness, and provide a platform for discussing issues of accommodation.
It advocates for the rights of people with disabilities by providing a forum for information exchange and exploration of goals for enhancing life for individuals with disabilities.
DAG also hosts a variety of events such as a speaker series and an annual mentoring day, and engages with officials in human resources, Med and AFSA, among others, to improve awareness and the work life of Department employees with disabilities.
At the State Department’s core are its people, and it’s committed to having a workforce that reflects the diverse people that it represents. Not only because embracing diversity enhances the development of human capital resources that increase proficiency levels, promotes a workplace culture that values the efforts of all members, and enhances the professional experience of its valued public servants, but because it also represents the U.S. to the world.
The Department is responsible for selecting and hiring employees who accomplish America’s mission of diplomacy at home and around the world, including foreign service officers (generalists), foreign service specialists and civil service professionals. For those pursuing university degrees and professionals who are interested in an executive development program in public service, the Department offers a number of programs, including internships and fellowships.
Thus, for DOS, diversity and inclusion (D&I),is key in its diplomatic ambassador role across the globe. To that end, DOS is committed to equal employment opportunity (EEO) and ensuring its work environment is free from prohibited discrimination in all phases of employment. This includes improving and enhancing its mentorship programs, expanding outreach to managers who make hiring decisions, and encouraging collaboration with external partners.
In addition, “our employees maintain an attitude of public service both at work and at home; the U.S. Department of State’s core values are based on the intent to strengthen both international and domestic communities. We offer Department-sponsored programs, resources and assistance to employees who want to find volunteer service or pro bono opportunities within the Department or their own communities,” DOS further notes.
Visit careers.state.gov to learn more about Foreign and Civil Service careers, the Consular Fellows Program, and internship opportunities. Connect with DOSCareers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.
Government Employees by the Numbers
The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) 2018 total federal jobs estimate is 2,797,000.
The federal government currently employs about 2 million full-time employees, excluding U.S. Postal Service (USPS) workers.
States with the most federal civilian employees as of June 2018 were California, the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland and Texas. The vast majority of all federal employees - about 79% - work outside the Washington, DC region.
USPS - a quasi-governmental agency - employs about 600,000 workers, the single largest segment of the civilian federal workforce. Other agencies employing the most civilian employees include the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Source: Governing.com
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