Government must do better at recruiting young workers

I was recently reading the article "Heiden: Solving the talent crisis" that was in the May 7 issue of Federal Computer Week. I am a student participating in an internship program at the Army Corps of Engineers, and I am slated to graduate in December. I am a veteran and approximately 25 years old.

First, I enjoy government service. I am not driven by money, don't mind the paperwork mountain of bureaucracy and like working for the people rather than the bottom dollar. But I'm leaving.

I find it humorous how everyone is concerned about the future talent pool but are doing nothing to recruit people today to replace the baby boomers in 10 years. Most entry-level information technology jobs are being outsourced, and just like the Office of Management and Budget Circular A76 competition the only jobs that are being offered are mostly GS 10 and above positions.

If everyone is so interested in recruiting talent why are so few programs available? Why are people like me forced out the door? I hope that government agencies don't think they can pull private-sector people at the drop of hat. Very few are willing to take the 30 percent to 50 percent pay cut to work at an agency that can no longer claim what has been traditionally its greatest strength: longevity.

If we continue to outsource our lower pay grade jobs to the private sector, where are the supervisors going to come from when people cannot be promoted through the ranks? Does the federal government intend to take chief information officers out of private industry when they earn three to four times the salary the government can offer? Or are we going to hire graduate students with zero experience?

I believe the current trend of government outsourcing is only adding to the problem of replacing graying IT staffs. Do I believe that contractors will be able to solve the problems of tomorrow? Absolutely. The question is how much is it going to cost.

Jason Davey
U.S. Amy Corps of Engineers


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