Washington, D.C. (January 18, 2011) – The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Tuesday released the first set of agency plans to increase Asian American and Pacific Islanders access to the federal government. According to the U.S. Department of Education – Office of Communications & Outreach Executive Order 13515 mandates that agencies develop plans to increase access to and participation in federal programs in which AAPIs remain underserved.
“The agency plans are part of the Administration’s commitment to assure that all Americans have a seat at the table,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who serves as Initiative co-chair with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke. “We have an extraordinary opportunity to break down barriers and address challenges that the AAPI community has faced for decades as a result of the model minority myth.
“From health disparities and language access to data disaggregation and bullying/harassment, AAPIs have unique needs that the federal government will make every effort to address,” Locke added.
Twenty-three participating agencies developed agency plans over a four-month period with input from numerous offices within each agency, AAPI community groups and the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs. Each plan details the agency’s strategic activities and performance outcomes for the next one to two years.
“The agency plans will drive the Administration’s effort to improve the quality of life for AAPIs,” Initiative Executive Director Kiran Ahuja said. “In order for the federal government to take meaningful steps, it is crucial that people go online, view the plans, and provide feedback.”
Plans will be released on a rolling basis through the end of February. The public comment period will be open for 30 days from the posting date of each plan. To view the participating agencies or provide feedback, visit http://www.aapi.gov/.
The agency plans currently available for public comment are: Department of Education; Department of Health and Human Services; Department of Homeland Security; Department of Housing and Urban Development; Department of the Interior; Department of State; Department of Veterans Affairs; Environmental Protection Agency; Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; and Office of Personnel Management.