Fedweek

OPM has listed hiring for critical skills, labor relations and diversity and inclusiveness initiatives as among the administration’s top priorities for the federal workforce.

In its “budget justification” document, OPM says that agencies experienced “significant attrition across critical occupations” in the last four years, “diminishing their capacity to meet the urgent challenges facing the country. Early executive actions call on OPM to work proactively with agencies to hire data scientists, technologists, and refugee officers –among other occupations – while also taking on the critical task of recruiting more people into government overall.”

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“To rise to the occasion, OPM needs to take on a role as strategic partner to agencies to help them meet their talent needs. This will require a more proactive and resource intensive approach that combines effective policy guidance with hands on implementation support to agencies,” it says.

Further, a Biden memo on the foreign policy and national security workforces “lays out an ambitious vision for reform that touches on nearly every aspect of the talent process, including recruitment, hiring, training and advancement, security clearance reform, veterans hiring, and more.”

It says that Biden’s executive order revoking many of the Trump administration’s policies regarding federal unions, “calls for a fundamental reset of federal labor relations as a core pillar of the administration’s push to empower federal workers and promote collective bargaining across the American labor market. to comply with the executive order, agencies may need to partially re-open many of the 2,000+ collective bargaining agreements across the government.”

“Agencies have also been asked to change the scope of their bargaining moving forward to include a broader set of topics. But the work goes far beyond these specific actions. To truly reset labor relations, agencies and unions need to sit down together to collaborate on the critical challenges facing the country. It is not enough to carry out the specific directions in the EO. Rather, there needs to be a commitment to a new way of engaging employees and their unions, as an indication of the contributions and expertise of the career civil service,” it says.

OPM also said it “intends to reinvigorate and expand its governmentwide leadership role” in diversity/equity/inclusion/accessibility that was started during the Obama administration.

That will include “providing technical assistance to agencies on the development of their agency-specific plans, and will have responsibility for collecting data, promoting paid internships, expanding partnerships with minority-led and serving institutions, analyzing demographic data to enhance broad recruitment, training, and providing guidance.”

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