Employee swap: OFPP contemplates exchange program

Trading employees for short-term projects may broaden careers while providing expertise to a department in need.

Do you ever wish you could trade one of your acquisition experts to another agency in exchange for one who knows more about a specific procurement need you have? 

It may be an option later this year. Officials at the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and the Federal Acquisition Institute plan to launch a talent exchange program. They want to create a way for agencies to share employees with uncommon expertise, so that other agencies can benefit from the broad capabilities. Agency officials need to borrow that experience when they deal with an acquisition in an area where their own contracting officers lack it, said Donna Jenkins, the director of FAI.

Acquisition employees may also welcome the program, as it will allow them to get a change of pace and broaden their resumes without permanently changing jobs, Jenkins said during a panel discussion on the acquisition workforce at the Interagency Resources Management Conference on March 15.

It would offer “opportunities for short stints where you might need help,” she said. In addition, there would be a repository for interested employees to look for possible opportunities to offer expertise.

The idea for the exchange program was born when a senior procurement executive asked FAI if there were any acquisition employees available for a large source selection process at the executive's department, Jenkins said. Since then, OFPP and FAI are have been working with the Federal Acquisition Fellows Coalition to develop and refine the exchange process, and to develop applications and various forms to carry out the program. OFPP sponsors the coalition in order to build the community of new employees and broaden their exposure to the various missions of government agencies.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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Reader comments

Fri, Mar 25, 2011 Trail Boss

Years ago we looked at establishing an FFRDC, to be composed of Federal retired acquisition employees that could offer advice and assistance to any agency that wanted outside advice. This would fall right in line with the previous comment. A lot of us still want to help, and have the experience to offer valuable help, without the fear of conflice of interests.

Thu, Mar 24, 2011 Jason

It is so sad to read about the government deciding, with great deliberation and decades too late, to do something so common sensical. It is struggling to pass a little expertise and experience around. Makes one wonder about all the cross-servicing agreements among agencies. They trade business and trade expertise. This is obviously a major place for Congress to hack away at unneeded headcount.

Thu, Mar 24, 2011

Why not hire retired annuitants? There is where the real expertise is! The early baby-boomers grew up in acquisition really know the regulations and how to implement them. They are not 90-day wonders just out of college! Acquisition corps is really getting hit hard with protests and condemnation across-the-board; mentoring by the retirees may be a good idea. Post opportunities on usajobs.gov!

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