Editorial: Young people, important work

The goal of the Rising Star awards program is to show everyone the amazing work of young feds

It seems like we have been talking about the government workforce crisis for years, especially about the wave of baby boomers nearing retirement age. Each year, however, agencies seem to dodge the workforce bullet, one way or another.

In recent years, particularly in the information technology community, we have come to value what young people bring to an organization.

Last year, together with the Young AFCEANs of AFCEA International's Bethesda, Md., chapter, we launched a new awards program to recognize the best and brightest among young government workers. When the Young AFCEANs proposed the idea, we were immediately interested. The success of that program and event in its first year was beyond our wildest expectations.

Too often, government employees are the butt of jokes during political campaigns. That attitude is perhaps best captured by the horrible but often recited phrase, 'Good enough for government work.'

The goal of the Rising Star awards program is to show young feds ' and young people everywhere ' the amazing work that is good enough for the government.

We decided to model the Rising Star awards program on Federal Computer Week's Federal 100 awards. Much like the Fed 100, the criteria for the Rising Stars are simple. Nominees must be people in the government IT community who have made a difference in the past 12 months, give or take a few.

The big difference is that we are looking for people in the public and private sectors who are rising. Last year, we were reluctant to put an age restriction on nominees, particularly because many people decided to enter government after the 2001 terrorist attacks. They saw it as a way to give back to the country. We did not want to make those people ineligible.

That being said, the Fed 100 awards are for those who have risen, while Rising Star awards are for those who are rising ' and who typically do not receive recognition elsewhere.

If you have a question about whether somebody is eligible, go ahead and nominate him or her. Use the nomination form to make the case for why the nominee deserves recognition.

We continue to believe that we must create opportunities for young people. Their energy and fresh outlook benefit everyone. We intend for this program to highlight the work done by young people and encourage their peers to accept the challenge of government work.

Let the nominations begin. You can find the form online at www.fcw.com/risingstar.


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