The Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (OAPIA) today announced its Asian/Pacific Islander (API) Bilingual Recruiting Initiative to help District agencies increase the hiring of bilingual employees. This initiative is a part of the Mayor’s overall strategy to hire more bilingual employees to better serve the District’s diverse residents, particularly those who are linguistically and culturally isolated.
As one of the Mayor’s key priorities, OAPIA began focusing on public safety in the API community. The office partnered with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to increase API recruits. Currently, MPD has a total of 3, 915 officers with 62 self-identified API officers. Of those 62, 18 are certified bilingual in an API language. In 2007, MPD recruited 301 candidates, 14 of which self-identified as APIs. With the District’s API population at more than 19,000 residents, MPD has been working to have its personnel better reflect the District residents its serves.
Through the partnership, OAPIA will support MPD in developing an API media outreach campaign. It will assist in direct recruitment with MPD at mini-job fairs in areas with a high concentration of APIs. In addition, OAPIA will organize workshops in the API community to increase awareness of law enforcement careers from managerial to civilian work. This partnership centers on jointly developing strategies to attract and hire more API bilingual recruits.
“We still need the API community’s help to get the word out about our initiative. Community input is critical to making this initiative work. This partnership is one strategy that the City has implemented to meet resident’s public safety needs.” Said Soohyun Koo, OAPIA’s Executive Director. “OAPIA and MPD’s partnership is only one part of an effective recruiting process.”