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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Remarks by Antonia Harris at the FDA and HHS Virtual Hiring Event, Nov. 3, 2011

U.S Department of Health and Human Services
Antonia Harris
Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Resources

(Text Version)

Welcome!  My name is Antonia Harris and I as the Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Resources at the Department of Health and Human Services, I am honored to take this opportunity to welcome each and every one of you to our inaugural HHS and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Virtual Hiring Event.  Our team would also like to extend a special thank you to all of the organizations that partnered with us to make this event possible, like Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) in all 50 states, Career One Stop Centers, Wounded Warriors Project, Warriors to Work Program and the Veterans Administration.  The Food and Drug Administration graciously lead this effort to coordinate our first virtual hiring event, targeting Veterans and People with Disabilities.

As many of you know, President Obama has signed various Executive Orders, focused on increasing the number of Veterans and People with Disabilities employed by the Federal Government.  This very event helps to materialize both President Obama's and Secretary Sebelius’ goals to increase Veteran and Disability hiring.

HHS is the government’s principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.  We employ individuals from diverse social and academic backgrounds in a variety of career fields and positions including: doctors, nurses, biologists, social and physical scientists, economists, computer specialists, budget analysts, administrative and clerical specialists, and epidemiologists – to name a few.  Currently, HHS is the 6th largest federal agency, employing over 65,000 people worldwide, and is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of people in the United States and around the world.

The Department of Health and Human Services recognizes the importance of cultivating a diverse and inclusive workforce, making it our goal to provide our employees the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally.  This is accomplished by continuously improving management training, developing new programs and providing people with the proper accommodations they need to excel in their job. In order to meet these goals, we need to work together with our partners, to provide the proper tools and information to successfully yield employment.

HHS and its 11 Operating Divisions continue to move forward with innovative ideas and methods that support the HHS mission of improving our quality of life. This is not only achieved in our many world-renowned labs and hospitals, but at events such as this “Inaugural Virtual Hiring Fair.”

We recognize that in order to achieve an inclusive and diverse workforce, it is our responsibility to take steps to provide opportunities through innovative methods.  Every day HHS increases our use of Telework. We strongly believe this program, in conjunction with a virtual workspace, will provide employment opportunities to a larger population of highly qualified individuals; opening the door of opportunity for those who may never have considered it possible to regain their independence.

Our HHS team is honored that all of you are participating in this exciting event and look forward to continuing these programs in the future.

Please enjoy this wonderful event.  I encourage each of you to capitalize on this unique opportunity and take control of your career.

Remember, it is yours to own!