An AHORA Student Day took place in Orlando at University High School. Keynote remarks were given by Jahmar Ignacio, Harris Corporation, and the panelists included Johanna Vazquez, Harris Corporation; Lester Morales, Kennedy Space Center; and Helen Marrero, NAVAIR. Special thanks to all who participated on behalf of our sponsors, NISSAN and Selective Service System; and to Tony Roman, Assistant Principal, University High School.

Recruiting Strong Leaders

As our country becomes an increasingly more diverse and dynamic society, organizations and government agencies are working to recruit and train strong leaders who can best serve America in the future. For example, my organization, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) has partnered with federal agencies and instituted programs like the Federal Training Institute (FTI) to prepare and guide some of our nation’s top talent to meet the challenges of a changing workplace.

 The FTI benefits workers and federal agencies by broadening their employees’ abilities to drive organizational results, serve customers, and build teams, partnerships, and coalitions in and outside government. It also assists federal agencies in identifying appropriate practices to improve the effectiveness of efforts to recruit, hire, retain, develop, and promote a diverse and inclusive workforce.

 The impact and success of the program is clear. I met one young woman who started her journey into federal government by attending LULAC-hosted workshops and the FTI. Through these trainings, as well as the strong network she formed with Hispanic men and women peers and mentors, she further developed and refined her leadership skills.  Now, she is a senior executive in a federal agency — one of the highest ranked positions in the government. She attributes much of this success to the mentors and leaders she met through our organization.

 One thing I have realized from this partnership with federal agencies, however there is an extra step young men need to take to remain eligible for federal employment. Men must register with the U.S. Selective Service System. It’s the law. Virtually all young men living in the United States must register with Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. And, while there is currently no penalty for late registration, if a man fails to register by his 26th birthday, he can permanently lose eligibility for opportunities shared through our programs that may have an impact in their future. Other opportunities young men can lose out on include the Pell Grant, federal student loans, and state grants—and for immigrants seeking to become US citizens, the process can become more complicated. The registration process can be completed online at sss.gov, and men without a social security number can register at any post office, or print out a registration form from sss.gov, and mail it in.

 It’s critical that the government workforce represents the population it serves. Therefore, we are proud to continue our work in assisting federal agencies in recruiting, retaining, and developing our future leaders, particularly Hispanics, through our Federal Training Institute.

 Sara E. Clemente is the LULAC Director of Federal Affairs.