State Department looking to pay college students who speak fluent computer

In today's Federal Newscast — Special delivery: Louis DeJoy brings joy to postal managers with a 3% pay raise. There appears to be no end in sight trying to a...

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  • The Postal Service is giving its supervisors, managers and postmasters a pay raise. In a memo, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said that all USPS Executive and Administrative Schedule employees and Pay Band Non-bargaining unit employees will receive a 3% increase, regardless of their current salary maximum. They’ll first see that pay increase in their October 14 paychecks. (Federal News Network)
  • The Veterans Affairs Department said Electronic Health Record fixes may result in additional rollout delays. Deputy VA Secretary Donald Remy told Senate appropriators the agency won’t proceed with future EHR go-lives until it fixes persistent outages and patient safety concerns. “The bottom line is that the Cerner system is not delivering for veterans in the ways that it should. Not even close. It needs major improvements,” Remy said. The VA recently postponed EHR launches planned for this summer and expects the EHR will go live at 25 VA medical centers in fiscal 2023. But Remy said the schedule is still subject to changes. (Federal News Network)
  • Officials across all Defense Department branches are raising concerns about military recruitment and retention. The Army, for example, has met only 70% of its goal for this year, and is on track to miss its recruitment target by up to 30,000 soldiers. Stephanie Miller, a DoD personnel lead, said she wants to create a more tailored and personalized recruitment approach. That can start, she said, with strategies like improving access to high schools, and reaching more potential recruits through digital platforms.
  • Agencies get new marching orders for what to include in their 2023 Freedom of Information Act reports to the Justice Department. DoJ’s Office of Information Policy released new guidelines that bring in the Attorney General’s new requirements, recommendations from GAO and from other stakeholders. One big change is the organization of the report, which should provide an agencywide view of FOIA improvements and challenges, and then be broken down by bureau or office. FOIA reports are due to the Justice Department by January 17 for agencies that receive more than 50 requests a year, and by February 10 for agencies that receive 50 or fewer requests a year.
  • Another office at the Bureau of Land Management votes in favor of union representation. The National Treasury Employees Union will now be the representative for frontline BLM employees in Rio Puerco, New Mexico. This is the fourth office at BLM to join NTEU, as part of a growing call for representation from bureau workers over the last two years. NTEU National President Tony Reardon said the union will push for adequate agency funding levels, higher pay and a strong contract for employees.
  • The Small Business Innovation Research program is a big step further away from ending. The Senate alleviated concerns about the SBIR and the Small Business Technology Transfer Research program and passed a three-year authorization by unanimous consent on September 20. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the chairman of Small Business Committee, introduced — and the full body passed — the SBIR and STTR Extension Act of 2022 on Wednesday,  after several months of delay because of concerns from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) about companies abusing the program. The House is expected to take up the Senate’s bill on September 28, just two days before the 40-year-old program is set to expire. (Federal News Network)
  • The State Department is looking for a new cohort of people who like foreign affairs and information technology. State has started accepting applications for a program called the Foreign Affairs Information Technology Fellowships. Individuals who are seeking to enter a two-year master’s degree program in an IT-related field in fall 2023 are eligible for this cohort, as are undergraduate students in an IT-related degree program who are entering their junior year in fall  of 2023.  Also, the FAIT Fellowship provides up to $43,500 in academic funding annually over the two-year fellowship. That funding covers more than tuition. Fellows have two summer internships with stipend support – one summer at the State Department in Washington, D.C. and one summer at an embassy or consulate overseas.  Applications close February 3, 2023.
  • Several working federal employees are inductees to the National Academy of Public Administration 2022 Class of Academy Fellows. From the executive branch: Tom Hicks, chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, Eric Leckey, associate administrator of FEMA and Gwendolyn Skyes, chief financial officer of the Secret Service. From the legislative branch: Dr. Wendy Ginsburg, a staff member of the House Subcommittee on Government Operations and Zina Dache Merritt, chief diversity management officer at the Government Accountability Office.
  • The top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee is raising the alarm about federal agencies about federal agenciesbuying third-party data on Americans’ online search histories without judicial approval. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is asking inspectors general at the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security to look into contracting documents that show these agencies have purchased these records from online data brokers. Wyden said his office is also in contact with a DoD whistleblower, who has raised concerns about these practices within his agency.
  • The House Committee on Veterans Affairs sent 13 bills to the floor focusing on mental health care, access to reproductive health services and the transition to civilian life. Committee chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) said that these bills will support veterans and their families by giving them access to benefits that help them live meaningful lives after military service.

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