Bill targets workforce 'crisis'

Senator calls for agency 'chief human capital officers'

College graduates either don't know about or aren't interested in federal government jobs. Mid-career professionals interested in joining government are often thwarted by a maze of confusing employment practices. And more than half of all current feds will be eligible for regular or early retirement by 2004.

Those factors add up to a federal government "human capital crisis," according to Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio). Legislation he introduced last week aims to give agencies new management tools to reverse the tide. In light of the recent terrorist attacks, a highly skilled and competent federal workforce to replace those about to leave is essential, he said.

"The future of our country really rests in our hands," Voinovich said.

The Federal Human Capital Act of 2001, unveiled last week at an event hosted by the newly formed Partnership for Public Service, is designed to enable agencies to recruit and retain skilled workers and better manage those already on board. Among the bill's highlights is the creation of a chief human capital officer position in major agencies to oversee management reforms and plan for future needs.

The bill doesn't address information technology specifically, but Voinovich acknowledged that a lack of IT workers is a major challenge. Federal salary schedules that aren't competitive with the private sector keep many potential IT workers away from government, he said.

However, given the poor state of the economy and layoffs in the technology sector, the government's ability to entice workers into federal service is better "now than ever before," Voino.vich said.

Max Stier, president and chief executive officer of the Partnership for Public Service, which aims to boost the prestige of government service, said the shortage of IT workers is a "critical" issue and one his organization will focus on.

"We want to make the IT issue one of our priorities," Stier said.

Voinovich's bill also aims to shorten the waiting period for some federal positions, and it features a number of other meas.ures, including:

* Improving employee accountability and streamlining reviews for poor performers.

* Allowing Senior Executive Service members to participate in private and nonprofit programs to enhance skills.

* Enabling agencies to set up training programs to groom employees for management positions.

* Amending the tax code to offer tax-free college loan repayment incentives.

Agencies need to do a better job of using technology to attract new hires, said Paul Light, vice president and director of governmental studies at the Brookings Institution and a participant in last week's event. Specifically, agencies need to make full use of the Internet in their recruitment efforts, he said.

Voinovich agreed, saying that "we're just not using common sense and modern techniques in recruiting people."

Voinovich said he didn't expect his bill to pass the Senate before the end of the year, but parts of it could become law before then. Rep. Connie Morella (R-Md.) is introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

At the event, Morella said last month's terrorist attacks and the new Partnership for Public Service could spur a renewed interest in federal employment, which polls show had been "waning."

However, a new poll indicates otherwise (see box). According to Peter Hart, director of Peter D. Hart Research Associates, 91 percent of those polled by his firm felt that the federal government functioned "very" or "fairly" well in the aftermath of the attacks. Despite that, only 18 percent said their interest in working for the federal government has increased, he said.

The conclusion: "There is no seminal change in the American public" toward civil service, Hart said.

However, Patricia McGinnis, president and CEO of the Council for Excellence in Government, noted that those between the ages of 18 and 29 are generally idealistic and more positive about government than their parents' generation.

NEXT STORY: Letter to the editor

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.