Editorial: A workforce window

For years, we have all read breathless articles about an impending shortage of government workers — the workforce tsunami, as it has been called. However, what we have noticed so far has been a constant drip, drip, drip — not a tsunami.

We certainly don’t believe that the government has dodged the workforce tsunami. Larger-than-usual numbers of government workers are going to retire in the coming years. It could be sooner or later.

The government has a real opportunity to marry the experience of age with the new thoughts, ideas and energy of a younger workforce.

Unfortunately, the government seems particularly inept at tapping into the experience that younger employees have to offer.

We have heard stories of young people who get government scholarships — scholarships paid for out of agency coffers — and are eager to join a government agency, only to be pointed to the USAJobs.gov Web site.

As good as a Web site can be, having a jobs site hardly counts as a strategic effort to prioritize public service.

In recent months and years, we have had the opportunity to spend time with the so-called millennials — young people who have always lived in a hyperlinked world. That group includes two classes of Rising Star award winners. Today, perhaps more than at any other time, younger generations can offer new ways to solve old problems.

The social-networked Web 2.0 world gives us a glimpse into a sphere of possibilities where information sharing is the norm rather than the exception.

The millennials are searching for ways to contribute. They don’t simply want a job. They want to be part of a mission. Public service agencies should be uniquely qualified to tap into this generation.

We live in a rapidly changing world. It presents huge challenges at the same time as it offers great opportunities.

With an upcoming election, the government has an opportunity to attract a new generation of public-service employees and bring about change that even longtime feds believe is overdue.

That transformation will require more than building a jobs Web site. It will require hard work, but we believe it also will offer opportunities to improve government now and in the future.

cartoon

The 2015 Federal 100

Meet 100 women and men who are doing great things in federal IT.

Featured

  • Shutterstock image (by venimo): e-learning concept image, digital content and online webinar icons.

    Can MOOCs make the grade for federal training?

    Massive open online courses can offer specialized IT instruction on a flexible schedule and on the cheap. That may not always mesh with government's preference for structure and certification, however.

  • Shutterstock image (by edel): graduation cap and diploma.

    Cybersecurity: 6 schools with the right stuff

    The federal government craves more cybersecurity professionals. These six schools are helping meet that demand.

  • Rick Holgate

    Holgate to depart ATF

    Former ACT president will take a job with Gartner, follow his spouse to Vienna, Austria.

  • Are VA techies slacking off on Yammer?

    A new IG report cites security and productivity concerns associated with employees' use of the popular online collaboration tool.

  • Shutterstock image: digital fingerprint, cyber crime.

    Exclusive: The OPM breach details you haven't seen

    An official timeline of the Office of Personnel Management breach obtained by FCW pinpoints the hackers’ calibrated extraction of data, and the government's step-by-step response.

  • Stephen Warren

    Deputy CIO Warren exits VA

    The onetime acting CIO at Veterans Affairs will be taking over CIO duties at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

  • Shutterstock image: monitoring factors of healthcare.

    DOD awards massive health records contract

    Leidos, Accenture and Cerner pull off an unexpected win of the multi-billion-dollar Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization contract, beating out the presumptive health-records leader.

  • Sweating the OPM data breach -- Illustration by Dragutin Cvijanovic

    Sweating the stolen data

    Millions of background-check records were compromised, OPM now says. Here's the jaw-dropping range of personal data that was exposed.

  • FCW magazine

    Let's talk about Alliant 2

    The General Services Administration is going to great lengths to gather feedback on its IT services GWAC. Will it make for a better acquisition vehicle?

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above