Scaling cloud training programs a major challenge for CIOs

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Scaling up internal training programs for staff within federal agencies is one of the biggest challenges facing agency CIOs, technology recruitment consultants have told FedScoop.

Departments currently use a range of tools, including 90-day and 180-day interagency job rotations, as well as sessions sponsored by cloud service providers. But experts say a more programmatic approach could help retain existing staff and attract new employees with specialist skills.

Britaini Carroll, principal director of Accenture Federal Services’ human capital division, told FedScoop it’s been an even bigger issue during the remote work of the pandemic. “A lot of CIOs I’ve talked with about this past year, whether it’s cyber or cloud, have had trouble getting their training online and leveraging the broader tech skilling that is out there.”

“100-150 [trainees] at a time isn’t going to scale, so there needs to be more intentional programming that enables both hiring new folks, bringing them up so speed, and broad-based learning on prioritized cloud roles,” Carroll said.

Meghan Sullivan, a principal within Deloitte’s government and public sector consulting practice, told FedScoop that she has seen a similar focus from CIOs on concerns about the best way to implement best-in-class cloud training for all staff. “[They are asking] how do I do this at scale, so that I’m not just investing in five people, but 50 people, so that if five or 10 leave I still have enough there,” she said. “How do I do it in a holistic manner, looking at training programs?”

Advocates say that programmatic training allows agencies to keep staff engaged, and also can help to address skills gaps left by the departure of staff amid a still-tightening technology labor market. Federal agency technology leaders in recent months have told FedScoop of an increase in the pace of departures from the government for the private sector, while a report last year by research firm Global Knowledge found that cloud and IT security skills continue to be most in-demand and that IT decision-makers were “struggling” to hire in these areas.

Advocates say also that a broad agency-wide training program helps to ensure staff remain engaged and that they have the necessary knowledge of different cloud platforms to be able to work on multi-system procurement contracts.

This story is part of FedScoop’s Special Report — The Continued Push to the Cloud.

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Cloud, Cloud Special Report, training
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