DOD aims to seed workforce

"Implementation of the Acquisition Workforce 2005 Task Force Recommendations"

Anticipating a shortage of procurement personnel, Defense Department officials hope a program that will give college students DOD acquisition training will help fill the void.

The Student Education, Employment and Development (SEED) program targets college students with an interest in DOD acquisition, technology and logistics jobs. The program seeks to reach those candidates early in their college tenure and steer them toward a career in these fields, said Marcia Richard, a DOD program analyst and liaison to the Defense Acquisition University.

The SEED program is one of 31 recommendations published in a March report by DOD's Acquisition Workforce 2005 Task Force.

"SEED will create a cadre of college graduates who will be educated, trained and ready to fill acquisition, technology and logistics positions throughout the DOD acquisition, technology and logistics community," according to the report.

"We have an aging workforce crisis," Richard said, and the SEED program is part of an effort to get new employees into the DOD acquisition workforce. Traditionally, cooperative education candidates have been given routine jobs such as filing, she added.

Instead, "we want to think of them as potential hires," she said of the student interns. The SEED program will enable DOD to give participating students more of a sense of what the jobs are like and, potentially, train them so they can join DOD.

Officials will test the waters with a pilot program this fall, but the Air Force already is looking to expand SEED to include workers in the engineering and information technology sectors, where there are even greater shortages, Richard said.

The pilot program will start with about 30 participants. And the SEED program will be run by all military services. The Air Force has shown the most interest in the program so far, Richard said, but she hopes other services will join.

DOD officials hope that the SEED program will also help influence course development at colleges and universities. Then, once students complete designated courses and gain work experience through the SEED program, they will be eligible to obtain certification in their chosen area.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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