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FCW : August 30, 2016
DrillDown An FCW article earlier this year on defense technology innovation (is.gd/FCW_DODinno) outlined con- cerns that the U.S. was falling behind its rivals. To remain a global leader, the U.S. must be fast, smart and con- stantly innovating. Technology drives productivity, which drives innovation. We must “future-ready” our federal workforce to take advantage of and to foster technology-led innovation. Technology is simply latent potential otherwise. At the same time, the federal gov- ernment is struggling to attract and keep young workers. One government survey found that the percentage of federal workers under the age of 30 dropped to 7 percent in 2015, which is the lowest percentage in almost 10 years. Some might question those sta- tistics, but the number of young work- ers in government agencies clearly is shrinking, and the implications are serious. It is particularly concerning because 31 percent of the federal workforce is eligible to retire by 2017. If those employees cannot be replaced by younger workers, it will limit agen- cies’ ability to achieve their missions. The government cannot offer the same compensation packages as the private sector, but agencies can take some important steps to attract and keep young workers — and help future-ready the federal workforce. 1. Adopt modern technologies Agencies are losing young workers in part because of their failure to adopt advanced and emerging technologies. Because of the role technology has played in young workers’ entire lives, open standards, crowdsourcing, cloud and mobile computing are the ways they want to work. Yet many agencies have been slow to adopt those technologies, and that reluctance has the potential to under- mine agencies’ strategic goals through workforce attrition and vacancies. Agencies should advance the tools they use, as well as their mindset about technology, to attract young workers. Those efforts should include: • Open-source technology. One of the benefits of open-source technology is the potential of the collective — for example, achieving the best algorithm by allowing a larger pool of brainpower to work on a problem. The approaches of open standards and open data apply Future-readying the federal workforce BY WEBSTER MUDGE Most agencies have the necessary data and knowledge to drive innovation. Now they need a culture that attracts and nurtures the necessary talent. August 30, 2016 FCW.COM 31 SHUTTERSTOCK 0830fcw_031-032.indd 31 8/9/16 1:24 PM
August 15, 2016
September 15, 2016