April 16, 2014
By Lourdes Vazuez
Secret Service senior special agent Clarence Jorif is on a not-so-secret assignment.
He is looking for more Hispanics to join the 149-year-old agency, which is known primarily for protecting the president, vice president, their families, foreign dignitaries and the nation’s financial infrastructure.
The agency has approximately 6,000 employees nationwide ranging from administrative professionals to special agents. As of January, only 7 percent of its approximately 4,400 sworn agents and uniform division officers were Hispanics and officials say they want to increase that, though Jorif said there are no specific recruiting target numbers.
According to recent census data, Hispanics make up 38.9 percent of the Dallas County population. Jorif said that while the area’s Hispanic population has increased over the years, applications from Hispanics have not necessarily kept pace.
“We are looking at affording the opportunity to the Hispanic community to become part of the Secret Service,” said Jorif, who works out of the agency’s Dallas field office.
He said the agency is placing an emphasis on diversifying its workforce because that enables agents to make better connections with the community. Building those relationships, he said, helps when it’s time to do an investigation.
And while the agency’s most high-profile duties are its protection details and its work handling financial crimes such as counterfeiting and credit card abuse, Jorif said there are a variety of other professional positions available ranging from civil engineer to social worker.
Adding more minorities to the Secret Service will also eventually bode well for diversifying the supervisory ranks of the agency, Jorif said.
“We want to have people to move up to these [supervisory] positions, but if no one is in the pipeline to do it, we can’t,” said Jorif.
The move to attract Hispanics comes as no surprise to Vanessa Cárdenas, vice president of Progress 2050 for the Center for American Progress.
“The fact is the world is becoming small through globalization through technology,” Cárdenas said.
“Global perspective and understanding the culture is essential when dealing with national security.”
Jorif said he speaks to schools and students about trying to make themselves more marketable, although some jobs within the agency only require a high school diploma. Still, Jorif urges would-be applicants to seek a college degree because those help land better jobs within the agency.
And Jorif said that while there is a concerted effort to attract Hispanic agents, the Secret Service is actively recruiting anyone who believes he or she would be interested in working for the agency.
“It’s a matter of putting the opportunity out there and affecting those who want to do better for themselves,” said Jorif.
Source: The Dallas Morning News