New initiative looks to attract baby boomers to fed jobs

The Partnership for Public Service and IBM Thursday announced the launch of a joint initiative designed to attract mature and retired workers from the private sector to government service.


 Officials from PPS and IBM, speaking at a news conference in

Washington , said FedExperience Transitions to Government will help the government match critical hiring needs with the talents of baby boomers looking for stimulating encore careers instead of simply retiring to the golf course.


“We face many, many challenges as a nation and we need a government that is operating at its very best to be able to address them,” said Max Stier, president of PPS. “At the end of the day, it comes down to where government begins -- with people.”

Stier described the potential of FedExperience as a “win-win-win” situation. “Boomers get their second career where they can find meaningful work, our government gets the talent it needs to fill looming shortages and the American people get a government that has the talent to service its people,” he said.


At the launch, PPS also released a new report, “A Golden Opportunity: Recruiting Baby Boomers into Government,” which makes the case for — and describes impediments to — connecting mature workers with federal jobs.


Based on a nationwide survey of older workers, the report found that 79 percent of workers age 55 to 59 planned to work for at least six more years. Moreover, more than a quarter expressed interest in working for the federal government. Barriers to attracting older workers to government include lack of knowledge about job opportunities, negative perceptions of government and a broken hiring process.


PPS and IBM will pilot the program at the Treasury Department, identifying recruiting and hiring interested older IBM employees and retirees and matching them to key jobs at the department. Nearly 14,000 mission-critical jobs need to be filled in the next two years at Treasury, including information technology, procurement and accounting positions, officials said.


The program will provide direct benefits to IBM, said Stanley Litow, vice president for corporate citizenship and corporate affairs at IBM.


“It builds a more effective workforce when the company helps its workforce think through transitions in their life,” he said. “They’ll think differently about the company. The initiative also will enhance public perception of the IBM brand. It will help the company in terms of improved relationships in all the communities that [former IBM employees who transition to government] will work in. It is good business to operate that way.”


For Treasury, the initiative is part of an overall effort to revamp its approach to human capital development, said Rick Hastings, deputy chief human capital officer at the department. “We’re looking a total human-capital remodernization at Treasury,” he said. “There are a lot of pieces on the drawing board.”


Linda Springer, director of the Office of Personnel Management, expressed support for the program, linking it philosophically to OPM’s efforts to find innovative ways to recruit new talent to government.


“We are fully behind the notion that we need to reach out to the corporate sector to people who are ending their careers there and looking for ways to engage, and particularly value at that point the opportunity for public service,” she said. “I can personally attest to the fact that older Americans can be dynamos.”

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