Feds seek young workers to fill ranks

WILLIAMSBURG, VA. ? The federal acquisition workforce stands to suffer if older employees retire and new ones don't come to take on the work. It's not a new problem, but speakers at the Executive Leadership Conference tackled it today with renewed determination.

Paul Dennett, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, encouraged agency leaders to institute active internship programs. A key to talking the interns into staying on with the government after they graduate is to get to know them and interact with them on a personal basis. Invite them to meetings now and then, he said.

"They love that. Their eyes get wide and they brighten up," he said. "It's a technique, and it works."

The federal government needs to maintain a robust acquisition workforce to continue to keep contracting dollars flowing, and to make the internal process work more smoothly.

Phil Kiviat, a partner at consulting firm Guerra Kiviat, said the government needs to keep abreast of new technologies that young people are using, because those are the ones the government most needs to hire.

The American Council for Technology and the Industry Advisory Council host ELC annually to bring together top government and business leaders.

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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