New program places fed IT workers in the business world

"Information Technology Exchange Program final rule"

Federal information technology employees can be temporarily assigned to work in a company for up to two years to expand their IT expertise under an exchange program that begins Sept. 14.

The E-Government Act of 2002 established authority for a federal IT Exchange Program. The Office of Personnel Management issued a final rule yesterday that defines how the exchange will work.

Besides sending high-performing IT employees to work temporarily in the private sector, the exchange program lets corporate IT employees work for as few as three months or as many as two years in the federal government. The exchange program is designed to improve the IT competencies and skills of federal and corporate employees in ways that will benefit the agencies or companies in which they work.

The federal CIO Council will administer the program. Only employees at GS-11 or higher grades can participate, according to the program regulations published in yesterday’s Federal Register. Company employees who are detailed to federal agencies must meet citizenship requirements for federal employment and work for a business registered in the federal Central Contractor Registration database.

An agency can detail an IT employee to a company without having to accept an employee from that company in exchange. Financial and other terms must be specified in a written, three-way agreement among the agency, employee and company.

Agencies will not be required to publish formal vacancy announcements of opportunities to participate in the exchange. But the regulations require that agencies publicize the opportunities to those who might be eligible to participate.

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