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Does your agency treat you like a Twinkie?

A guest-post from FCW Editor-in-Chief John Monroe.

Call it the Twinkie factor.

Let’s say a federal agency made a strong hire in 2001, someone who was well-versed in all the current technologies and methodologies and who was ready and able to bring the rest of the agency along.

Fast-forward to 2011, and how does that hire look now? That depends on what has happened in the intervening years. If the agency gave that person the time and resources to keep their perspective fresh and their skills up to date, all might be well.

But that often doesn’t happen, according to one reader. Instead, agencies apparently assume that what passed for IT savvy ten years ago can still get the job done today – that like a Twinkie, technology know-how has a seemingly limitless shelf-life.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case, writes a reader named Steve. He was responding to a recent blog post about the challenge that federal agencies face in competing with the private for IT talent. Steve believes training is a benefit that the best workers will demand.

“To remain a ‘top talent,’ an IT worker has to constantly be upgrading her skills,” he writes. “My experience is that the government does little to help its IT workers maintain top notch current and relevant skills. Top talent does not want their skills to atrophy, so they are far more inclined to work for an employer that encourages and assists in keeping skills current.”

What do you think? Are agencies spending the money needed to keep their IT talent fresh, or are they treating their employees like Twinkies?

Posted on May 10, 2011 at 12:18 PM


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