Slowing the brain drain
- By Judi Hasson
- Apr 25, 2005
General Services Administration officials have figured out how to slow the information technology brain drain with a solution so simple it’s hard to believe no one thought of it sooner.
It is a program called the Rising CIO Stars Forum. It entails finding an auditorium, inviting a few experienced IT executives and then advertising to attract an audience.
The first forum, held April 6, offered the expertise of two high-level IT security executives. Marianne Swanson, senior adviser for information security management at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Ron Ross, project leader for NIST’s Federal Information Security Management Act Implementation Project, spoke to about 100 federal IT workers.
"We're trying to figure out how to create the next generation of leaders," said Monica Fitzgerald, acting deputy director for professional management at GSA.
One of the challenges is trying to get the IT community to "think of themselves as the next generation of leaders and really capture the topics we have in government," she said.
Although invited speakers are usually paid, many government officials are willing to give their time for free, she said. By attending the forums, people who want to review a particular subject can do so without spending hours traveling to conferences or taking online courses.
"It is definitely a professional development opportunity," said GSA spokeswoman Viki Reath.
At the forums, which are held quarterly, GSA officials try to appeal to people seeking information about IT subjects. Other sessions this year will focus on enterprise architecture, project management and business performance management.
The Government Accountability Office has emphasized the importance of building relationships. In a report last August, GAO officials urged federal chief information officers to network informally, form alliances and build friendships to help ensure support for information and technology management.
The rising stars forums are an important part of the President's Management Agenda, which addresses strategic workforce management, said Yvette Gibson, program specialist and project manager for CIO University, a GSA program created to help further the education of federal IT personnel.