Students to shadow federal IT employees

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On Feb. 1, 2007, dozens of high school students will fan out to federal agencies to follow information technology workers through their workday. The Job Shadow Day is the first that the CIO Council has sponsored since 2003, and organizers say the response is encouraging.

“We’re getting involvement beyond what we expected," said Janet Barnes, co-chairwoman of the CIO Council's IT Workforce Committee. "So far we have 20 high schools signed up and 25 agencies, and it’s only Nov. 30." Barnes is also chief information officer at the Office of Personnel Management.

The CIO Council sponsored similar days in 2001, 2002 and 2003, but then key committee members who had done most of the work left, and the program did not continue until now.

At its peak, the program attracted nearly 100 students from high schools in the Washington, D.C., area, Barnes said. The Feb. 1 event could top that, possibly reaching 200, she said.

The purpose is to expose students to the federal government and get them thinking about federal service as a possible career option, she said.
“We’re reaching out to the future staff that we will need to take over our jobs," she said. “IT is needed in every sector of our society. We need to be able to attract our share of the workforce to federal government service.”

Barnes co-chairs the committee with Treasury CIO Ira Hobbs, who is retiring from federal service.

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