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Federal reskilling effort takes aim at data science

Thursday marked the first Workforce Summit, hosted by WorkScoop and sister publication FedScoop. The day was packed full of insights, information and best practices around the federal IT workforce. One big story that developed out of the event was the announcement that data science will be the next focus of Office of Management and Budget's reskilling initiative. “The next thing we’re going to tackle is the data scientist arena,” said Margie Graves, deputy federal CIO. The “clear demand signals” from recent legislation like the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act, and more, contributed to this decision, she said. Tajha Chappellet-Lanier has more.

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USDA places focus on reskilling after Centers of Excellence modernization

Reskilling, upskilling and training were hot topics at the Workforce Summit as agency leaders discussed the future of work with more modernized and automated IT. USDA is one of the leaders in federal IT modernization and now must adjust its workforce in response to its changing technology environment. CIO Gary Washington detailed several efforts his agency is undertaking to reskill and train employees whose job focuses are no longer applicable to the modernized agency. Washington said a major challenge “that doesn’t get discussed is how you prepare your workforce to be able to support this new environment” after modernization. “We need to make sure that our 3,100 federal employees at USDA are in a position to be a part of that journey.” See what else Washington had to say.

DOD, IC leaders push for diversity in IT workforce

Diversity was a topic in many presentations at the summit. In particular, two leaders in the national security space called for greater diversity in the workforce around STEM and IT. "If we only have a set of people that all kind of think the same kind of way and were all taught and grew up the same kind of way, we’re probably not going to be able to come up with the right set of things that the adversaries might then try and use against us,” said DOD CISO Jack Wilmer. Billy Mitchell has more.

Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey results are out, but will agencies use the data?

In non-summit-related news, the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey was released last week, and again the response was low. It's part of a multi-year trend in which less than half of federal employees are responding. It may be because they don't feel anything will be done with the results, according to data — of those who responded, only 41 percent felt FEVS results would be used to improve their agencies. The trend is “troubling,” said OPM Director Dale Cabaniss. “I believe that the agencies that are most successful are those who use the data as starting points for analysis and action. It’s not about seeing percentages move but creating a more conducive environment for employment.” Dave Nyczepir has more.

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