News in Brief

Tech jobs, FAA video and OPM recruitment roadmap

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White House promises $100M for tech jobs

President Barack Obama on March 9 announced a new high-tech jobs program that includes $100 million in grants to train workers. The program, called TechHire, aims to impart skills like software coding, and match employers seeking trained tech workers with qualified applicants, especially those who may not have traditional tech backgrounds or who have acquired their computer science skills through online coursework or community colleges.

The program also includes partnerships across 21 cities and regions to improve data on employer demand, build the capacity to train workers in needed skills more quickly, and use local tech and business leaders to give job-seekers a proving ground to demonstrate their coding chops to companies.

The president pitched the plan as a way to maintain America's status as a tech powerhouse for the future.

"I want Americans to win the race for the kinds of discoveries that release new jobs -- whether it's converting sunlight into liquid fuel, or leading a new era in personalized medicine, or pushing out into the solar system, not just to visit, but to stay," Obama said, announcing the program at the League of Cities' meeting in Washington, D.C. "We've got just this incredible set of opportunities, but we've got to have the workers for us to take advantage of it."

FAA rescue video debuts online

The Federal Aviation Administration has pushed its popular aircraft rescue and firefighting video online, instead of sending out video discs to airport safety trainers, to make it easier for airport personnel and first responders to see it.

The online video features an introduction and 11 segments on various ARFF-related topics with information on Programs for Training of Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Personnel for large airports, as well as reference materials for firefighting. The video is an overview for ARFF personnel at more than 500 Part 139 certificated airports ins the U.S.

The FAA said airport officials in 20 countries have requested a copy to include it in their ARFF programs. FAA's Part 139 requirements cover airports that serve large and medium-sized aircraft.

OPM launches recruiting roadmap

The Office of Personnel Management has unveiled a recruitment "roadmap" for improving federal hiring. The plan involves a revamped USAjobs website and a data-driven user interface that draws information from multiple datasets.

Using feedback gathered from focus groups and users, the USAjobs' team of developers anticipate updating the site with new features approximately every 12 weeks.

By overhauling how agencies recruit, hire and develop their workforces, OPM aims to close a perceived federal skills gap in STEM fields, increase employee engagement and increase diversity. "OPM is collaborating with agencies and stakeholders from across government to help managers untie hiring knots and eliminate barriers to recruitment and hiring," OPM Director Katherine Archuleta said.

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