Federal buyers could job swap

The Procurement Executives Council is preparing to launch a rotation program next month that will allow federal procurement professionals to take short-term jobs in other agencies.

The program targets those who want to work on a new project for a period of less than a year in order to gain new skills and a new enthusiasm for their profession. These career "developmental" jobs would be specific and focused, such as drafting a solicitation.

"We want to do things to excite the people we already have," said PEC member Terry Tychan, deputy assistant secretary for grants and acquisition management at the Department of Health and Human Services.

The PEC is also planning a government/industry exchange program among procurement professionals in the public and private sectors. Already, agencies such as the Department of Energy are sending their government employees to industry; however, it will take a change in the law to enable the reverse to happen, Tychan said, speaking Wednesday at the FOSE trade show in Washington, D.C.

The PEC is taking a more active role in ensuring that the current procurement workforce has the tools and skills they need to do their jobs in the age of procurement reform, Tychan said. The council is also encouraging new graduates to join the profession through internship programs.

"The federal procurement profession has downsized and changed," Tychan said. "We have to do research combined with quick, high-impact things to help our workforce."

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