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Vilsack looks to return USDA to more-liberal telework policy

Pandemic or not, Secretary Tom Vilsack wants the U.S. Department of Agriculture to have a more flexible telework policy in line with what it had the last time he was in charge. During his first tenure as Agriculture secretary under President Obama, Vilsack’s USDA moved to a telework policy in 2014 that allowed employees to work remotely up to four days a week. But in 2018, Sonny Perdue took the agency in a dramatically different direction, dialing the policy back to allow only one day of telework a week. Vilsack told 17,000 USDA employees during a virtual town hall last Thursday that he plans to return the department to the prior policy, a USDA spokesperson confirmed to FedScoop. Billy Mitchell has the latest.

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Survey shows many students are falling behind during the pandemic

The online tutoring platform Wyzant this week published survey data confirming a fear that’s been simmering since the pandemic first began forcing students to study from home last spring: Many are falling behind in their learning. The company in January surveyed more than 1,000 of its tutors, uncovering a common belief that some students are experiencing learning loss, a reversal in the academic process. Forty-three percent of tutors said they believed the pandemic was causing learning loss among their students, and nearly one-third surveyed said they believe some of their students will never catch back up. Seventy-eight percent said their students who are studying remotely need the most help. Colin Wood looks closer.

U. West Florida opens cybersecurity training program for veterans

The University of West Florida’s cybersecurity center is accepting applications from veterans in the Gulf Coast region interested in training to be a cybersecurity professional, the university announced on Friday. The workforce development program, called CyberSuccess, will provide five months of free online cybersecurity courses and career development opportunities, including access to potential employers, for veterans that have at least a high school diploma or equivalent and some IT experience. About eight applicants will be selected for the first cohort and begin the program by March 31, according to the university, which also announced a $175,000 sponsorship deal with the nonprofit initiative Regions Bank to fund the program. Ryan Johnston is on the case.

Former local IT official wants to 'demystify' digital services

To help small cities and towns go digital, the former digital service director of San Rafael, California, recently announced that she’s launching her own civic technology consultancy. The business, called the Department of Civic Things, is Rebecca Woodbury’s first venture since departing San Rafael in January after 12 years with the city government. As the company’s founder and sole employee, Woodbury told StateScoop her business is designed to help small communities — primarily between 10,000 and 15,000 people — “demystify” their digital services, including everything from websites to permitting applications to 311 services. Woodbury will also help governments create the content, like press releases, staff reports and digital media necessary to populate their digital tools. Ryan has this one, too.

Job of the Day

IT Specialist |Department of Health and Human Services

This position is located in the Office of Program Evaluation and Information Resources, Division of Information Resource Management, Phoenix Area Indian Health Service. The incumbent serves as an Application Programmer/Developer responsible for support and modification of current MUMPS application software and development of new MUMPS Application software utilized by the IHS Resource and Patient Management System (RPMS). This position reports to the Supervisory IT Specialist. See this job and others here.

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