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Reimagining IT Talent in the Federal Government

Federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel announces the launch of the Technology Fellows Program.

I am pleased to announce that the Chief Information Officers Council has officially launched the Technology Fellows Program. This initiative follows through with another essential reform item from the 25 Point Plan to Reform Federal IT Management.

IT has transformed how the private sector operates and has revolutionized the way in which it serves its customers.  But the Federal Government largely missed out on these transformations in the last decade, due in part to its poor management of large technology investments. Challenges with IT program management have long been pervasive across the Federal Government due to a general shortage of qualified personnel. The result was not only slower progress than the private sector but in some cases millions in taxpayer dollars wasted due to personnel lacking the expertise to manage and oversee such large projects.

Through the Technology Fellows Program, we are building a more sustainable talent pool that will ensure effectively managed IT programs from beginning to end. Highly qualified IT professionals are of great demand in any sector of the economy but the extent to which the private sector is able to hire top performers affords private companies an advantage in attracting the best and brightest in IT.

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.

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. 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.

The Tech Fellows will be a part of the long standing and highly successful Presidential Management Fellows Program. Since 1977, the PMF Program has been placing top post-graduate talent in the Executive Agencies. This partnership will allow the Technology Fellows Program to be successful and mature right out of the gate and allow the PMF program to cast a wide net into the information technology field, a field that is currently underrepresented by the group we are targeting.

I am encouraging all talented IT professionals currently in school or considering school at the graduate level to take this opportunity to serve your country, or if you know of people who fit this profile, please link to this post via Twitter or post it on Facebook. Coming from the private sector into government, I have been presented with incredible opportunities to solve difficult problems and the reward in doing so has been incomparable.   

Steven VanRoekel is the Federal Chief Information Officer