OPM hopes to attract more early career (young) workers into government

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Maryland lawmakers are telling the Biden administration bringing the FBI headquarters to their state will advance its governmentwide equity goals. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.) tell the White House that moving the headquarters to majority-black Prince George’s county will bring federal jobs and development opportunities to the area. Two of...

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Best listening experience is on Chrome, Firefox or Safari. Subscribe to Federal Drive’s daily audio interviews on Apple Podcasts or PodcastOne.

  • Maryland lawmakers are telling the Biden administration bringing the FBI headquarters to their state will advance its governmentwide equity goals. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.) tell the White House that moving the headquarters to majority-black Prince George’s county will bring federal jobs and development opportunities to the area. Two of the three proposed FBI sites are in the county. The General Services Administration is expected to make its final decision on the site of the new FBI headquarters this fall.
  • Senators are pressing agencies for an update implementing legislation to crack down on illegal opioids in international mail. The 2018 STOP Act requires the Postal Service to collect advance electronic data on international mail. Customs and Border Protection then uses that data to stop illegal shipments of opioids like fentanyl from coming into the U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) are asking CBP how many countries will receive waivers granting an exception to comply with the STOP Act requirements in 2023. CBP granted waivers to more than 130 countries last year, but said the number is going down. USPS said it now collects advance electronic data on 95% in incoming international mail.
  • A federal judge has denied a request from the state of Texas to block the Biden administration from imposing vaccine mandates on federal contractors in the state. Texas argued it needed its own injunction after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed another court ruling that blocked the vaccine mandate nationwide. But Judge Jeffrey Brown ruled Texas hasn’t shown it faces “imminent harm,” because, as of now, the Office of Management and Budget is still telling agencies not to enforce the mandate.
  • You’ve heard of the PIL, the procurement innovation lab at the Department of Homeland Security. Well, get ready for the NAIL — the NASA Acquisition Innovation Lab. The space agency plans to model the NAIL after the highly successful DHS effort. The small organization will try to bring new and emerging procurement practices to NASA. It likely will launch in early 2023. The NAIL’s home will be at NASA headquarters but connect back to the centers to help train and share best practices across the country.
  • The Department of Homeland Security is set to release new details on a major cloud services acquisition. DHS will host a virtual industry day November 7 to discuss requirements for the Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure Provider Suite, also referred to as “ECLIPS.” Officials will provide an overview of the ECLIPS award structure, scope and projected spending plans. DHS is considering how the suite could meet department-wide requirements for infrastructure as a service, platform as a service and software as a service, as well as other cloud needs.
  • The White House looks to launch a major consumer cybersecurity initiative next year. The Biden administration plans to roll out a national cybersecurity labeling program for Internet of Things (IoT) devices starting next spring. The announcement comes after industry and government leaders convened at the White House last week to discuss the cyber labeling effort. The goal is to develop an EnergyStar-type label that helps consumers understand whether products like routers and security cameras meet cybersecurity standards. The Federal Trade Commission and the National Institute of Standards and Technology are among the agencies leading the effort.
  • In an effort to increase its focus on combat readiness, U.S. Space Command will transfer its responsibility for tracking objects in space to the Commerce Department. Space Command currently tracks more than 47,000 objects, according to a written statement from the Defense Department. Space Command is a joint command with components from each of the services that focuses on intelligence gathering. It wants to redeploy its resources to track what’s happening in space as it relates to defensive and offensive warfighting capabilities.
  • With less than a week before a Public Service Loan Forgiveness waiver expires, agencies can help feds apply. Agencies can certify an employee’s entire work history, including their time working at other agencies. The Office of Personnel Management said agencies should help certify feds’ employment on their PSLF applications before the waiver expires on October 31. The temporary waiver lets those who didn’t serve 10 consecutive years of public service, and those whose claims were previously denied, apply for the PSLF program.
  • The Office of Personnel Management plans a slew of initiatives to attract more early-career young people to federal service. And to stick around. OPM Director Kirin Ahuja, speaking at the ELC conference in Hershey Pennsylvania, said OPM will issue guidance before year-end for agencies to start paying all interns. It will seek authority to pay recent graduates and graduate students coming into government at the GS-11 rate, around $72,000. Ahuja said OPM will soon launch a federal talent innovation office to zero in on pay and retention issues, as well as a special cybersecurity talent strategy. Ahuja told the assembled federal and industry technology executives the high-tech industry is often a model for the most contemporary employment models.
  • Federal employees have mental health resources available to them as the winter season approaches. Feds experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder can use their agency’s Employee Assistance Program to receive counseling. Other mental health treatment options are available through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. The Office of Personnel Management said agency leaders should also regularly check in with their employees, and promote a healthy work-life balance.
  • GSA is giving agencies a glimpse of what the future of work could be. The General Services Administration is shining a light on how federal employees could share office space in the future. After setting up a contract about a year ago to provide commercial collaboration space, GSA is opening up the doors much wider to this concept. Robin Carnahan, the GSA administrator, announced this co-working week at the ELC conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania. “On November 14, there will be a week where teams can show up, work for free in these private co-working spaces and just see what they think of it, see what the tools are that will make a difference for them.” (Federal News Network)

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    FILE- In this Sept. 30, 2017, file photo, people attend the WGU Texas annual commencement ceremony at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. The public service loan forgiveness program was created to encourage people to take jobs to help the greater good without financially crippling themselves. These positions often require higher education but pay modest wages, such as teaching, social work, public health or law enforcement. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File)

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