CHICAGO – The FBI is looking to hire 1,000 new special agents over the next year, and officials at the Chicago field office say increasing diversity is a priority.
The FBI hopes the initiative goes a long way in recruiting a few good men and women.
“I am very passionate about diversity and inclusion,” said Ami Marayag, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge. “Obviously, being an Asian American female, there are different opportunities for us in the FBI that people don’t even think about.”
Marayag, who says her family came to the United States from the Philippines, told WGN that she became an FBI agent 15 years ago after serving as a Marine.
“We emigrated here back in the 80s,” Marayag said. “The government really helped my family out. We were poor, and so it was really one of those things. I thought I should be in the government because they helped my family.”
Marayag now helps to promote the agency’s diversity efforts. Next month, FBI Chicago will host a virtual Diversity Agent Recruitment event.
“During the event, there will be a Twitter feed where we’re going to answer any questions that anybody has,” she said.
It’s part of the FBI’s nationwide push.
“The effort for us to be able to ensure that the FBI’s face is the same as the community’s,” Marayag said. “I think, especially for FBI Chicago, we have a SAC [Special Agent in Charge] who’s very passionate about making sure that diversity and inclusion is always at the forefront of our activities to recruit.”
The current Special Agent in Charge, Emmerson Buie Jr., is the first Black man to hold the position in Chicago. Black, Latino and Asian special agents in the FBI are largely underrepresented, only making up 13 percent of agents in the Chicago office. Over 23 percent are women.
“We’re definitely looking for people who have different backgrounds,” Marayag said. “I had a rocket scientist as a roommate in Quantico. Pharmacists, chemists, computer scientists. You don’t have to have a law or criminal justice degree. We’re definitely looking for those types of people that are willing to help the community out in terms of fairness in policing and in terms of being able to ensure the communities are represented the way they should be.”
The diversity agent recruitment event will be held for only the third time by the Chicago office. It’s set to commence June 2 on Chicago’s Near West Side. Anyone interested is asked to register at FBIjobs.gov to be considered for an invite for the interactive information session.
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