Groups choose winning workforce idea

Robyn Dingledine has a winning idea for how the government could help attract young people to public service: Create a career quiz on the USAJobs Web site that would help college graduates determine which federal agencies offer jobs that match their skills and interests.

Dingledine, an employee of the Office of Personnel Management, was chosen the winner from among 16 finalists who gave two-minute pitches for improving the federal workforce during a Public Service Recognition Week event, called FedPitch 2008, held Wednesday on the National Mall in Washington.

Dingledine’s idea defeated other proposals to create a wiki to capture the expertise of retiring feds, a governmentwide campaign to brand federal employment with a positive image and a virtual-reality federal career exposition.

“Based on my education and experience, what kind of job would I qualify for in the federal government?” Dingledine asked. “What kind of agency hires for the jobs I might qualify for? What grade level should I apply for? These are all really difficult questions even for current federal employees. But just imagine if you’ve never worked for the government before. How would you find out the answers to these kinds of questions? And what would you do if you couldn’t find out the answers to these questions?”

You wouldn’t apply for a federal position, she answered.

Dingledine’s project — an interactive Web-based career quiz on the USAjobs Web site — would solicit information about a person's skills and interests and display information about federal positions and agencies that matched those skills. The quiz would also link to open positions on the USAJobs Web site that people could apply for, she said

A panel of five judges selected the winning idea based on the criteria of demonstrated need, feasibility, originality, potential impact and presentation.

The program was the idea of 13L, an organization of mid-career federal employees interested in government leadership. The program’s sponsors were the Council for Excellence in Government, Young Government Leaders, Partnership for Public Service and American University’s Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation.

Dingledine will meet with the judges at a later date to explore ways to implement her idea. The judges were Robert Tobias, director at the Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation; Norman Lorentz, vice president of the Council for Excellence in Government; Kate Hudson Walker, president of Young Government Leaders; Tom Fox, director of the Annenberg Leadership Institute at the Partnership for Public Service; and Orice Williams, director of financial markets and community investment at the Government Accountability Office.

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