Estimated at more than 10,000 employees, California’s state government IT workers now have a high-level executive in their corner to help overcome some of the state’s unique challenges. A new Assistant Secretary for Professional Development position within the California Technology Agency will address a technology workforce that’s been hit by hiring freezes, reductions in staffing and budget cuts on training, agency Secretary Carlos Ramos said recently.

As state government increasingly relies on technology, training and developing the state’s workforce is becoming an integral part of making sure the state is prepared, according to Ramos. The new position will address those issues.

“Government is so reliant on technology these days that it’s an exposure and it’s a risk not to do everything that we can to make sure our technology workforce has the skill and the capacity to maintain and operate these systems government relies on,” Ramos said.

Creating a position that will focus on developing the state’s workforce, leveraging resources currently available for training, identifying workforce gaps and finding ways to address those gaps will address a workforce that is aging and has been subject to reductions and freezes, according to Ramos.

“A large part of it will be skilling up and building capacity within the people that are already in the workforce,” he said.

In addition to developing the current workforce, Ramos said he will encourage the new Assistant Secretary to work with universities and technical schools to make sure schools are providing the type of education that the state needs from workers. Developing mentorship programs and internship programs could also fill the pipeline for positions in technologist jobs, project management, information security, procurement and contract management and positions relating to newer technology, such as mobile and cloud computing.

“The state’s workforce runs the full gamut,” he said. “We need somebody to focus specifically on where is the state’s workforce and what are the skills that we need to have.”

This month, the California Technology Agency announced that the new position has been filled with Kari Gutierrez, former chief of the Enterprise Technology Investment Division at the state’s Department of Transportation. Gutierrez, in her new role as assistant secretary, will take office April 16 and report directly to Ramos.

This story was originally published on Techwire.net.

Ashley Nelson  |  Contributing Writer