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What’s in the Works for the Federal Cyber Workforce?

By Zackary Rettig

govloop.com

From building partnerships and pipelines with schools and universities, to moving jobs out of the Washington metro area, to reworking the security clearance process, agencies are employing a wide variety of strategies to combat the hiring and retention crisis currently plaguing public service.

At FedScoop/WorkScoop’s recent Workforce Summit, several experts spoke about how their respective agencies are changing practices to address the evolving needs of the federal cyber workforce. Here are the key takeaways from three of the speakers, along with some strategies they shared.

Office of the Director for National Intelligence (ODNI)

Sherry Van Sloun, Acting Assistant Director of National Intelligence for Human Capital, discussed a series of initiatives the intelligence community (IC) is exploring to better its methods of recruiting and retaining employees.

One challenge that the initiatives seek to address is that many jobs in the IC require employees to relocate to the Washington metro area and that their work must be completed within a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF). This can be a deal breaker for candidates in the job market who are receiving competitive offers. Van Sloun explained that the IC is attempting to eliminate this requirement, saying, “If there’s unclassified work, doing code work, if it can be done in an unclassified space, let’s partner with our partners across the country … and force the workforce of the future to be across the country and maybe not just in one location.”

Another obstacle to talent recruitment and retention is the notoriously lengthy process of obtaining a security clearance. To address this, the IC is attempting to enhance the process with automation. Van Sloun explained that the focus of the initiative is, “How do we throw automation into that process and technology to help us do it faster, better and keep that talent with us, because we lose a lot of talent if you have to wait 18 months to two years to get a clearance. We’re losing really good people.”

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