CIO Council urges action to save IT work force

Competition for workers with information technology skills is intense, and the federal government must take immediate action if it wants to maintain a world-class high-tech work force, according to a study released by the federal CIO Council.

"The need for IT professionals puts the government in direct competition with the private sector for scarce resources," the report states. The study offers 13 recommendations for ways to recruit, keep and continually train high-tech employees.

To satisfy the recommendations, the report recommends that the government, among other things, do more online recruiting and marketing, create a CIO university to build executive skills and exchange information between government and industry, and partner with the Office of Personnel Management and other agencies to help build the high-tech work force.

The CIO Council's recommendations are as follows:

1. OPM and the CIO Council together should continue the study of IT occupational structure and pay.

2. OPM should extend past 2000 a delegated waiver authority to agencies to allow for recruitment and retention of IT professionals.

3. The CIO Council should support OPM's efforts to encourage the use of existing hiring flexibilities and the establishment of a critical-needs hiring authority.

4. A governmentwide indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract should be established for online recruiting and marketing support.

5. The CIO Council and other agencies should increase collaboration among federal agencies to upgrade IT skills of the current work force.

6. OPM should encourage federal agencies to recruit from nontraditional labor pools.

7. Sample statement-of-work language should be created for skills transfer from contract to government.

8. The Commerce Department, the CIO Council and OPM should jointly conduct an information and outreach campaign to encourage students to pursue IT careers.

9. The CIO Council, in partnership with key federal agencies and the private sector, should develop an IT career academy and curriculum for adoption by high schools nationwide.

10. A scholarship and internship program should be established for promising IT students in exchange for government service.

11. The CIO Council should encourage federal agencies to participate in regional, sector and occupational skills alliances.

12. The CIO Council should support a continuing work-force planning capability at OPM.

13. The CIO Council should continue to support the establishment of a virtual CIO university.

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