Council is eager for hiring reforms

Projects such as the Integrated Human Resources e-government initiative can’t be completed too soon to suit Ira Hobbs.

The co-chairman of the CIO Council’s Workforce and Human Capital committee sees transforming the way the government recruits, hires, retains and trains IT workers as a top priority of federal managers.

He is using his CIO Council pulpit to push many of the changes recommended by the National Academy for Public Administration. NAPA last September released a report, The Transforming Power of Information Technology: Making the Federal Government an Employer of Choice for IT Employees, that calls for significant changes in the way the government hires employees. A major recommendation was to establish a pay system based on the job market and individual workers’ performance.

Hobbs said the virtual IT job fair sponsored by the Office of Personnel Management and the CIO Council in April, considered a resounding success by several federal managers, was prompted by the report.

Congressional attention to federal hiring is another result of the study, Hobbs said.

“This shows the study was on the right track, and we are doing the right kinds of things,” he said. “The seeds were planted for a new approach to recruitment and development of federal IT employees. We need to nurture it into lasting change.”

Skill building ideas

To that end, Hobbs said, the CIO Council committee is pursuing several initiatives, among them a second virtual IT job fair.

The committee is also preparing the Roadmap Project, software that will help employees assess their skills.

“We hope to identify e-learning courses and specific activities individuals can engage in” to show their skills, he said. A team of employees from the Labor Department, OPM, the Navy and other agencies will unveil the tool in the next couple of months.

Hobbs said he expects the formation of the proposed Homeland Security Department will open the doors for changes to the personnel system throughout the government.

Salary, benefits and flexible scheduling topics will be in the forefront, he said.

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