Leaders show how government can improve hiring to address 21st century tech challenges
“Good government increasingly requires modern technical leadership. Having leaders in government who understand technology is not only important for technology initiatives, it’s important for every initiative, and I think we see that in the midst of this [pandemic] crisis” – Katie Malague, the Partnership’s vice president for government effectiveness.
On April 16, the Partnership for Public Service brought together tech leaders from across the federal government for a panel discussion and report launch for Tech Talent for 21st Century Government. The report provides guidance for building technology and innovation leadership to ensure the federal government can address modern challenges.
The event featured a panel discussion with Matt Cutts, administrator of the U.S. Digital Service, and Clare Martorana, chief information officer at the Office of Personnel Management.
One major theme from the discussion was challenges the government can address. “I would say hiring and how can you bring the best possible technologists and other subject matter experts into the government,” said Cutts. He added that the government could become significantly faster in hiring and that the government should capitalize on its unique mission, purpose and impact that other industries don’t have.
The U.S. Digital Service is even working with other agencies to streamline the hiring process for technology positions. It has launched a pilot program in several other agencies, including the National Park Service and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The program enlists subject matter experts to review applicants’ resumes and conduct the first round of interviews to ensure that candidates are technically qualified before they move on in the hiring process.
OPM also has many initiatives that support tech talent across government and is encouraging private-sector employees to join the federal workforce. Martorana said that OPM is optimizing USAJOBS.gov and its direct hiring authorities to help agencies bring more technologists into government.
The panelists were encouraged by the state of the federal workforce and said that the government’s biggest opportunity is to become a leader in technology and innovation.
“What gives me hope is both the people that are here [in the federal government] and the people that are willing to come,” Martorana said.