White House looking to invest more in younger government workforce

In today's Federal Newscast, the Biden administration is eyeing more investments for federal early-career hiring in fiscal 2025.

  • The Biden administration is eyeing more investments for federal early-career hiring in fiscal 2025. The Office of Personnel Management wants to create a mentoring program for younger talent in government, along with a rotational program meant for early-career feds. Currently, just about 8% of the federal workforce is under 30 years old. That's compared with about 20% in that age range in the private sector. The White House is asking for about $466 million in discretionary spending for OPM overall.
  • The Office of Personnel Management is looking at a possible new approach to try to help the HR workforce. Supporting the government's human resources employees has been a priority for the Biden administration. So has expanding federal internships. Now, OPM is seeking to combine the two. In the next year, OPM said it'll pilot a governmentwide internship program specifically for HR. In theory, the program would improve early-career recruitment, while also boosting federal HR, a sector of the workforce that's faced years of challenges. The pilot internship program is one strategy OPM included in its fiscal 2025 budget request just this week.
  • Calling the Small Business Administration's efforts insufficient, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is demanding the agency take more actions to implement a 2023 law. In a letter to SBA, the Small Business Committee ranking member said the agency must do more to make sure grantees say how they are spending federal money. Ernst said a provision in the 2023 consolidated appropriations bill requires SBA to collect information such as the percentage of total costs financed through federal funding and the total amount of money SBA awarded the grantee. The Iowa Republican wants SBA to answers six questions by May 1 about how it's meeting the funding disclosure requirements.
    (Ernst presses SBA on grantee disclosures - Senate Small Business Committee)
  • New health survey will help the Defense Department assess its overall readiness. DoD will conduct a survey to improve health care policy and health programs for service members. The survey will allow the department to assess the impact health-related issues have on overall readiness. It is being fielded to over 250,000 randomly selected active-duty service members. Survey answers are confidential and participant's responses will not be shared with the department in a way that can identify service members. The survey is entirely voluntary and will be completed on May 3. An executive summary will be available upon the survey’s completion.
    (Health Related Behaviors Survey - Defense Health Agency)
  • Craig Martell, the Pentagon’s first permanent chief digital and artificial intelligence officer, will depart from his role in April. Radha Plum, the deputy undersecretary of Defense for acquisition and sustainment, will take over the role on April 8. Martell left his position at the ride-hailing company Lyft to lead the Pentagon’s efforts to adopt data, analytics and artificial intelligence across the department. During his tenure, he was tasked with launching the Global Information Dominance Experiment and providing a minimum viable capability for Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control. The reasons for his departure from the position are still unclear.
    (Craig Martell to depart CDAO in April - Department of Defense)
  • A key cybersecurity executive is leaving federal service. Brian Conrad, the acting director of FedRAMP, the cloud security program, is stepping down. Sources confirm his last day is March 22. Conrad has been acting director since January 2021 and worked at the General Services Administration’s program management office since 2018. It’s unclear who will step into the acting director role at FedRAMP once Conrad leaves, but a GSA spokesperson told Federal News Network that the agency will have interim leadership set up in the near future and that they are building a strong leadership team to support FedRAMP. FedRAMP is about to enter a period of real change with OMB finalizing new guidance revamping the governance and execution of the 12-year-old program.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs is looking for a big budget boost, while also cutting the size of its health care workforce. The VA is asking Congress for a nearly $400 billion budget in fiscal 2025. That’s a 20% increase from enacted spending levels. But the department is also counting on having 10,000 fewer employees working at the Veterans Health Administration. Laura Duke, VHA’s chief financial officer, said VHA will lower its headcount through attrition, because the agency far exceeded its hiring goals last year, and because it’s seeing higher-than-expected retention rates. “We don't have to keep hiring in order just to stay steady state the way that we did during the pandemic.”
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs is looking to permanently house 41,000 veterans experiencing homelessness this year. Among its goals, the VA is also trying to ensure 95% of veterans placed in housing stay in housing this year. The VA said the number of veterans experiencing homelessness has fallen by 5% since 2020, and by more than 50% since 2010. The department, as part of its outreach, is also making sure formerly homeless veterans stay in housing by offering VA health care and job training, as well as legal and education assistance.

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