Technology that propels the government relies on data, modernization, security, and also, the people that make those innovations possible. When talking about the federal IT marketplace, the human aspect is often left out, even though people are what drive innovation. Ronald Nielson, Founder and Owner of SharkOptics LLC, expressed that the government faces challenges obtaining and retaining the right talent, especially within cybersecurity.
To widen the talent pool, agencies should look to the military, competitive industries, and academia. Nielson suggests the federal government incentivize the cyber workforce, through compensation, challenging technical work, research and development, and the concept of a national team. “The number one issue is talent. The human capital piece is really critical,” he said.
“We just simply can’t, in the government, keep up with the skill set required to maintain and bring in new technology and ideas. We can partner with companies to bring in these new skillsets and new ideas,” suggested Lisa Schlosser, Cyber Security Advisor to Harrisburg University. “We need to work even more with academia and help them design programs to grow our skill sets, promote the private sector, as well as the government sector.”
For example, SUNY Empire State College in Saratoga Springs, NY, offers a government partnership program that allows students to develop credit-bearing programs that meet the specific needs of government agencies from local municipalities to federal defense agencies. More strategic partnerships like this craft the exact talent needed for certain agencies.
Partnerships with academia, startups, and other industries can help government agencies obtain the talent and technology they need to function. Lt. General William J. Bender, former Chief Information Officer for the United States Air Force and now Strategic Account Executive for Government at Leidos., feels that technology can only do so much, people make government agencies successful. “Our biggest challenge will be to transform the workforce, I just don’t think that we have the people with the skills, aptitude, and experience,” said Bender. But, partnerships can help fill the void.
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