New program aims to bring in new tech workers

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

Starting in January, a new crop of technology experts are coming into government.

Building off the success of the Presidential Management Fellows program, the Chief Information Officer’s Council today launched the Tech Fellows program.

“We are building a more sustainable talent pool that will ensure effectively managed IT programs from beginning to end,” said federal CIO Steven VanRoekel in a blog post. “The Technology Fellows Program helps to break down some of the bureaucratic barriers that slow hiring and presents young people with a prestigious option when coming out of their respective graduate programs. Once inside the federal government, the Tech Fellows will be given the challenge of working with the projects and complex systems that are only available when working in federal IT. In my opinion, this is the competitive advantage that the federal government holds against the private sector.”

The two-year fellowship is for graduate students — master’s or doctoral level degree — in the areas of computer science, computational mathematics, information technology or information science and/or relevant work experience in a technology firm or the field of information technology.

Applications to the program will be available Sept. 15 and must be sent to the Office of Personnel Management by Sept. 25.

“In no other organization in the world can an individual work on information-gathering systems sent into space, the protection of our warfighters and homeland through cybersecurity, or unlocking health data that could benefit millions of Americans. Federal IT touches every single policy area and issue in our country,” VanRoekel said. “If you have a passion for solving complex problems and know that IT can be a part of any solution, the Technology Fellows Program will be a great opportunity.”

Agencies will provide each fellow with at least 80 hours of formal classroom training each year. Each participant also will have completed one four-to-six consecutive month developmental assignment.

Fellows will be paid at the GS-9, 11 or 12 level based on qualifications.

The program is part of the Office of Management and Budget’s 25-point IT reform plan.

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