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OPM Working To Assist Agencies With Updated Skill Development

Federal Agencies are seeking ways to become more streamlined, efficient and effective in our new era of cyber-security. Given this, jobs are being reconstructed to satisfy the need for technology, innovation, automation and security, just to name a few key areas. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is offering assistance as part of this preparation with training, education and skill enhancement opportunities. Other sources such as the Federal Employee’s Career Development Center  assists management and their employees to develop viable Individual development Plans (IDPs).  This service offers individual career development assessments and guides federal employees and management through the process using their interactive Career Planning Checklist.

OPM has also crafted a new strategic plan that provides specific information on this endeavor that includes a focus on ‘soft’ skills as part of the holistic approach for employees. With numerous challenges, to include knowledge management and transfer, this assistance is critical for all agencies and particularly those facing cybersecurity objectives. OPM will work with these agencies to enhance their internal processes, procedures and policies, supplement training and provide expertise and coaching so that they can better equip themselves with the tools they need to shape a skilled and prepared workforce.

Becoming “cyber-security compliant” is a critical task moving forward for these agencies and OPM promises to do everything in their power so that their current challenges can become opportunities for growth, protection and hardened security postures.

Agencies aren’t typically experienced with looking ‘inside’ their organizations to strengthen, streamline and enhance processes, procedures and policies, particularly when it comes to employee skill development and the strategic needs of the business. That’s where the Federal Employee’s Career Development Center can help.

OPM recommends perhaps looking at work roles and billet structures as a first step; along with a strategic vision, clear goals and objectives, these work roles and billets can become the foundation for a successful mission. Pay for performance is another area where organizations can work to capitalize on knowledge, skills and abilities throughout the organization; employees are then able to be rewarded for their increased responsibilities, heightened work activities or acquisition of additional skills, training and knowledge through coursework, for example. The Federal Aviation Administration initiated a core compensation pay plan in the 1990’s that rewards employees for outstanding performance.

A sound education and training program is another element for successful skill development. Organizations must ensure they leverage flexible telework options, training courses, academic partnerships and more that foster a holistic learning environment. A variety of opportunities that include online learning, self-paced courses, briefings, and more not only bring employees together, but foster collaboration and information sharing among colleagues that will in turn, enhance organizational missions. Finally, senior leadership buy in and support are paramount when implementing a new ‘skill development’ program; employees will look to them as the pillar for the change. Mentorship, coaching and professional development programs are a must in any organization. By looking internally to determine what the key objectives for the business are, how billets and work roles are aligned and arming employees with the right tools and resources to fulfil them are a productive mix. OPM will continue to work with agencies as they are interested, to map soft skills with technical opportunities and more for a robust and solid approach to enhanced employee skill development throughout the federal community and beyond.


Ogrysko, N. (2018, Mar 6). Retrieved from https://federalnewsradio.com/your-job/2018/03/opm-says-itll-help-agencies-re-skill-federal-employees-for-jobs-of-the-future/

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About The Author

Dr. Donna Day is a Manager at the Department of Defense, where she has been for more than 30 years. With a background in Information Assurance, Customer Engagement and Marketing, more recently she has been studying Cyber security Policy and Management at the University of Maryland, University College (UMUC). She earned her Doctor of Management, Master of Business Administration, and Master of Science Degree in Technology Management at UMUC and received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing at the University of Baltimore. Dr. Day is also an Adjunct Professor at Norwich University in Vermont, where she teaches Cyber security, Critical Infrastructure and Information Assurance courses to a myriad of students, worldwide, from across the intelligence community. A published author, Baltimore Ravens fan, and life-long learner, she enjoys writing, traveling, cooking, and most importantly, spending time with her family and friends.