Building federal career pathways: Four takeaways for federal employees and higher education professionals
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Building federal career pathways: Four takeaways for federal employees and higher education professionals

December 13, 2022 | Updated on January 17, 2023

The Partnership for Public Service hosted two engagements last month to strengthen federal talent pipelines and provide jobseekers with better access to federal opportunities in the Western United States.

In collaboration with the Volcker Alliance, we hosted a virtual Career Expo on Nov. 15, which provided jobseekers with opportunities to connect one-on-one with federal hiring managers and recruiters, and hear panel discussions with federal employees. On Nov. 16, we hosted the West Coast Federal Talent Summit, which brought together leaders and practitioners in federal human resources, academia and workforce development to engage these stakeholders in the effort to bring qualified talent into the federal government.

These events created a wealth of opportunities for further action, as well as highlighting best practices and lessons for those invested in building a strong federal workforce. Here are four takeaways for federal employees and higher education professionals.

Build partnerships and get creative. During the talent summit, Elizabeth Atilano from the University of California, Merced, and Jeanette Lewis from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, shared how they built an effective and adaptable partnership between their organizations to meet the Federal Reserve Bank’s hiring needs and provide opportunities for UC Merced’s student population. For example, they hosted a student focus group to review job postings and identify language that would resonate with students and enable them to respond effectively. Bringing a spirit of creativity and adaptation to a partnership can provide more effective ways to meet your goals.

Tell personal stories. There are federal career pathways for jobseekers from all social identities, educational backgrounds, professional interests and geographical locations. During the Career Expo, we hosted panel discussions with federal employees to share their own stories about their careers so that jobseekers could see themselves and a variety of experiences represented in the federal workforce. Even without access to an event or individual conversations, highlighting stories like the Service to America Medal finalists and winners or the Profiles in Public Service podcast can expand jobseekers’ perceptions of federal careers and employees.

Understand the process. The federal hiring process is different from other sectors and understanding how the process works and how to advise jobseekers as they navigate it is an important component of building federal talent pipelines. Thankfully, there are resources available for those who are seeking to learn, in addition to being the hub for federal job announcements, USAJobs includes an events page listing upcoming events and trainings hosted by agencies and the Partnership’s website includes resources and guides for jobseekers, their advisors and others interested in federal careers.

Stay involved. The effort to build stronger federal career pathways in the Western U.S. requires significant action – from raising the profile of federal opportunities to greater education about the federal hiring process. There is a lot of work to be done. The Partnership is continuing to engage with individuals from federal agencies, higher education institutions and workforce development organizations to make progress, and we want you to work alongside us on this journey. You can stay up to date about our work and opportunities to participate by subscribing to the Call to Serve newsletter, which is primarily curated for higher education professionals, and the Partnership’s weekly newsletter which highlights Partnership events, programs and other news.

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