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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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Reader comments

Fri, Jul 27, 2012

I too feel that i am being set up to fail in the company i work for. I was a student at a technical college in Georgia, and my instructors refer me to this job a few months ago. Now that I have the job I am fighting for my life, just to keep this job. Improper training and impatient trainers that don't like to be asked questions seems like a waste to me. It seems that if your not to their liking you should just give up. I however have never known giving up and refuse to be pushed out. I am conste4nly been told, "Maybe this job is not for you, why don't you go back to doing the jobs you use to do." I didn't spend the last two year making the deans list an studying for my Network Support Specialist Degree for nothing. I have only two semesters left to graduate and i put it on hold just to support my family, by taking this job. Bad training or just intentionally misinformied, i don't know. By the way I was the only African American in my training class, and was told that I was so far behind the others, but yet my stats say other wise. Well maybe I am stupid, for keeping my mouth shut. Is this the environment Vetsamerica encourages. It's sad and a waist. Here's a thought the only compliments I am getting is that i take great notes. Now that's funny, seeing that no one has seen my notes.

Thu, May 17, 2012

Training is a joke, it doesn't matter if there's no cost, Only the 'special people' get training so that they will have what they need to be promoted. I sit in an office where it isn't uncommon for special people routinely go to Harvard for seminars, nothing special, nothing critical, but boy does it look good on their resumes. Money never seems to be an issue. I am not a twinkie I am a mushroom, and if my boss wanted me to have a brain (even if I did go the University of Chicago) she will issue it me, and then tell me how to think.

Wed, Dec 7, 2011

IT training at my agecny SEC is a joke. Only the few the proud get to go. And management ponders the question why the agency drop from number 3 to number 27 in 2011 as one of the best agencies to work for. I have been turn down for training so many times I dont even apply anymore.

Wed, Jun 8, 2011

Training has becomee a big joke, force you to read online or listen to people. No, hands on training to really make sense of what they are talking about, not everyone can just read it a pick it up. The goverment has really lost touch on what technologist need for training and it is only getting worse when they send a few people because now we are in a budget crunch. Just like any position you need to brain storm on ideas but when you have no knowledge on what they are talking about, the cloud, wireless or what ever the topic is about you can not have a good brain storming session to help with projects or fixes. We can whine about going to training but until they make it mandatory for us to actually go to a training then it is not happening. Good old USA, where is it going to.

Mon, May 16, 2011 The Observer

Training gets managed the same way employees do, the "good ole boys" or "kiss up girls" get to travel and go to training, whereas the "true" hard working sincere employees that would rather not "play the game", have to scratch-and-claw their way to training.

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