Sitting here at NAPA headquarters in the same room as OPM Director John Berry and many other influential people in government as well as education.
Stay tuned for notes in an ongoing basis:
Panel Discussion 1- Holding the Pathways Programs Accountable for the Future Leadership and Human Capital Needs of the Federal Gov
“Pathways to the Pathways”
OPM Director- John Berry
-“Thanks” to NASPAA and NAPA- 2 driving forces behind the creation of the original EO
-EO is the starting pistol, not the finish line- we must get this right
-your input today is NOT going to prodce a coffee table book. These will go directly into action
-Rob Shriver- director of Pathways regulation. Basically the one who will actually write these ideas/regulations
-“Our recruitment and hiring program was broken”
-New focus on Vets- have done great with agencies like DoD and VA. Civilian agencies not so much- usually less than 5%
-Moving away from KSA towards competitive resumes
-no more 75 page position descriptions- goal of 2-3 pages
-Overarching goal of an 80 day hiring process! (current is average of 100 days)
-Discriptions in the past have been too confusing, discouraging students and those looking to get into gov
-3 simply methods
–2- Recent Grads
—–for those who have a degree but don’t have the “experience” to get into gov
—–Vets will have a 6 year window after degree.
—–couldn’t stand to lose. Everyone really wanted to keep it.
-“don’t grow so fast that you lose quality”
-FBI example- bring in MBA grads and each one is paired with a senior manager as a mentor program. The MBA new hires are treated like a “class” and given special attention. “Why can’t we do that in more agencies”
-“we are going to take a much more aggressive approach to this [the regulation drafting process]”
—going to use technology and social media to get feedback and input- this meeting will not be your final chance to contribute
-today, the workforce is less than a tenth “blue-collar”
-federal contracting has going from 300 bil. to 800 bil. since 2006
-this growth needs new, and great talent
-we need to slow that retirement wave- tough to keep up with in terms of hiring, especially now.
—-how about a part time program for retirees? When the retirement date comes, they move to part time for a specified transition period. During that period serve as a mentor
Don Kettl- U of MD
-GAO list of ‘at kisk’ gov programs- majority of them are, at the core, human capital issues
-20% of federal spending goes to medicare and medicaid- managed by only .2% or federal employees- scary thought
Paul Posner- George Mason
-students will be lured away by the private sector in this economy- unless we make this work
-competition of MPP and MPA in the non-profit and consulting fields especially
-we will need much better metrics (OPM?) to make these new programs work
-largely, the success of these upcoming regulations will be on the back of the agencies- they need to step in and research student bases and aggressively implement. Set up shop on target campuses.
-Need very clear performance measures
-More transparency=more trust and respect from the general public. There needs to be that link!
-Not only stakeholders and public need to be engaged, but all the feds in the lower levels of agencies and field offices- how much input really is coming from people outside DC
-we need more meaningful internships opportunities
-increased challenge now because of fiscal uncertainty and threat of high retirement rates- now is the time to invest in people- the best and brightest. Just like Cybersecurity and DoD funding (didn’t get cut, but slightly increased)- human capital investment needs the same urgency!
Panel 2- Challenges in the Existing Federal Hiring Process
-150,000 full time fed employees hired every year by OPM
-agencies need to figure out where and who they want to hire- what type of people, credentials, etc.
-univ. career services leaders need to connect with agency officials
-universities should survey their students- who got fed jobs and how? who didn’t get a fed job and why? Find a meaningful way to implement that feedback
-eliminate KSAs- they discourage talented people right off the bat b/c of beurocracy
-transcripts early in hiring process also discourage b/c it can take time- need to be more accommodating
-economic hardships only slow retirement wave by a few months
-Students want to work for the fed gov, but have mixed feelings about the process- too convoluted, complex, lengthy, opaque, etc.- but people still want to work for gov!
-institutionalization- it needs to be more than just a paper that gets filed away. Become a part of the agency operations and univ. recruitment
-students need to be (and presumably will be) a part of shaping these programs- taking it to the campuses
-gov hires 60,000 interns per year, but how many actually know that?- we need a better method of opportunity deliverance- usajobs doesn’t post all internship opportunities.
-managers need to be held accountable for the type of people they hire
-GAO seems to be the poster child for gov-univ. relations
-what of a decentralized portal on the internet (separate from usajobs) specifically for internships
–how can we (as a GovLoop community) fix this problem? We have a unique space for problem solving- figure out the issues/problems then discuss real solutions to offer OPM and others.
Panel 3- Federal Agencies’ Human Capital Needs and Routes of Entry
-plan, brand, monitor, develop [people]- GAO plan of attack
-recruiting (from GAO perspective) is not a one-size-fits-all approach. 65% of selected schools (about 70 total) are engaged virtually. The rest are tailored through more personal means based on the specialty of the school.
-need to have a broader perspective- increased hiring should not be a reaction to retirement happening now. Look at least 5 years down the road.
-PMFs aren’t the end-all-be-all of an agency. Just because they’re PMFs doesn’t mean they’re above doing the hard, grunt work.
-need a database of consistent skill sets required by various agencies
-change the testing process for fed emplyment- make it more practical. How well do they think and understand/solve problems?
-TIMING- grads are going to private sector b/c it’s faster- agencies should act earlier in the students educational process
-agencies need to pay better attention to lists like “Top 10 Gov places to work”- why wouldn’t you want to increase your ranking?
-at a minimum, a cap [on new hires under Pathways] must be flexible. Ideally, there would be none…
-adjust cap annually by agency. Not easy to do, but most likely necessary
-Pathways has to be easy for agencies to use- consider why agencies hire so heavily from current fed employee pool- b/c it’s easy
-alternative to caps- hold managers stringently accountable for results as well as development opportunities for new hires
-what are these programs if not work-arounds for processes already in place (i.e. usajobs)? No agency really wants to deal with all the red tape. That’s one of the core issues.
-excepted hiring, does NOT mean excepted from being of a competitive nature (contrary to popular belief)
-PMF- 4 issues- Timing (needs to be earlier) and Assessment (needs to be difficult and very selective) and Size (needs to stay small-elite even) and Connectivity (needs to correlate in some way with the Pathways program as a whole).
-Abuse of FCIP- unfounded in relation to students and recent grads. If abuse happened, it was relative to other hires not in that category.
-3 words of the day- “Make it [both PMF and Pathways Programs] useful”
-need to find a way to summarize and present findings (today and future) to OPM
-need diversity of sources for input
Thank you one and all for following along! This is such an important topic, and this meeting of change-makers today is just the beginning. GovLoop is a unique place with the special opportunity to have meaningful impact in this arena. Please check back on GovLoop for more discussions and blogs on this topic. I’m sure there will be more to come!