White House convenes industry on tech-driven workforce redesign

(Ted Eytan / Flickr)

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A day after private sector officials said the government would need to reskill several hundred thousand federal employees to modernize its operations, White House officials hosted industry experts Wednesday to discuss how they could redesign the workforce.

The Office of Management and Budget hosted a day-long symposium Wednesday with private sector stakeholders to discuss new human capital strategies that could impact more than 2 million federal employees.

“Leveraging representatives from diverse organizations with deep, cross-functional expertise in human resource issues, we hope to gain policy ideas and also identify capabilities to help modernize a Federal Workforce for the 21st Century,” an OMB spokesman said in an email.

While White House officials didn’t specify who would be attending the meeting, Federal CIO Suzette Kent alluded to the gathering at the Professional Services Council’s Tech Trends event Tuesday.

“When we compare the federal government generically to industry, there is an opportunity for greater focus on the long-term career progression, the skills we invest in — particularly in the technology field —modern technologies and forecasting what work looks like in the future,” she said. “We are not just looking at moving up levels from a management perspective, we are actually looking at the skills individuals need to have to be successful in the environment that they are working in.”

In addition to incorporating more emerging technologies, like artificial intelligence and automation, the White House has focused on reskilling employees to work with the new tools as well, placing more focus on citizen-facing services.

“What we are talking about with the workforce session is ways that we can engage public-private partnership with that, ways that we sustain a commitment to retention, to recruitment and to ongoing education to individuals who are in the federal government,” Kent said.

OMB launched the symposium to focus on strategies to transition employees to higher value work and away from more labor-intensive manual duties, developing end-to-end customer experience-based operations and realigning the workforce structure based on analytics-driven solutions, officials told FedScoop.

A report on new workforce tactics would follow the symposium “in the coming weeks,” they said.

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artificial intelligence, federal workforce, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Presidents Management Agenda, Suzette Kent