HHS considers certification programs

The Department of Health and Human Services is considering pilot testing various certification programs as part of its effort to retain mid-career employees and motivate underachievers.

Brian Burns, deputy chief information officer at HHS, said that if funding allows for it, his office would like to offer certification and degrees in information technology, program management and contract management. He would like to pilot the programs in the Office of Information Resource Management first before determining whether to roll them out departmentwide.

The programs would show employees that HHS is making an investment in their careers, Burns said. And certification offers standards that provide uniformity for training and development. Uniformity opens up career paths, which leads to personnel retention, better job satisfaction and marketable skills, he said.

With standards, it's easier for employees to move within the department and share their expertise, Burns said, speaking Monday at the Government CIO Summit, sponsored by FCW Media Group in Kiawah Island, S.C. "We all have understandings and cultural difference that help us develop in different ways," he said.

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