A Quality Workforce: How to Build It, How to Keep It!


What are the legislative, leadership, and structural issues that must be addressed if the public service is to attract and retain the talent it needs?

High-performing organizations must have the right people with the right set of skills in the right place at the right time. They must have effective mechanisms for acquiring the talent needed and for keeping the talent once it is acquired. Many of the mechanisms for acquiring and retaining top quality individuals for the federal government are broken. In April 2001, the National Academy of Public Administration, in partnership with its Human Resources Management Consortium, sponsored a conference of government executives and professionals to examine these issues. The goal of the conference was to identify the legislative, leadership, and structural issues that must be addressed if the federal sector is to attract and retain the talent it needs. To focus the issues most clearly, the conference combined plenary speakers, such as Senator George V. Voinovich and Sean O'Keefe, deputy director, Office of Management and Budget, with workshops that examined these issues in greater detail.

A Legislator's View

The article by Senator Voinovich, "Crisis in the Federal Workforce: Challenges, Strategies, and Opportunities," discusses the problems and the opportunities inherent in a federal workforce, over half of which will soon be eligible to retire. Senator Voinovich is a leader in identifying the magnitude of the issues and in proposing strategies and solutions for those issues.

Recruiting Acquisition Experts, Scientists, and Engineers

An article by Al Shoertel, the track leader for the acquisition, sciences, and engineering professions, focuses on the Department of Defense experience in handling its workforce crisis. He lays out the issues and solutions that his workshop participants identified as essential if the federal government is to be successful in its recruitment and retention of acquisition experts, scientists, and engineers. The conclusions of...

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