Stemming the Retirement Tide Stemming the Retirement Tide

into locking down that desktop or laptop, yet the next-generation employee may not accept that lockdown."

When employers issue corporate- or government-owned equipment, they typically think in terms of strictly managed PCs or laptops, but younger workers might reject this control. For one thing, the Millennials' world includes more technological gadgets than just computers, like iPhones for example. And they don't just use these devices at work.

"They are people who have the technology and their access to the network and the communications embedded in the way they live, not just as something that they use for work," Willis said.

Just as employees prefer different types of pens, next-generation workers may feel the same way about the devices they use to access employers' networks. "One of them is going to like one kind of appliance to get in, the other might like another," he said. PDAs, cell phones, etc., for young people - the digital sky is their limit.

Oklahoma's state government is successfully pushing young people to try public service. The Carl Albert Public Internship Program (CAPIP) is a state-run endeavor that's allowed a steady stream of college graduates to enter state employment. The internship, offered through the state's Office of Personnel Management, is a bridge between college and state service. Internships are provided at two levels: an undergraduate level and an executive fellowship level for graduate students. If the executive fellows work at least 1,000 hours a year, they are enrolled in state health insurance and retirement benefits programs while working to earn school credit, so they get a taste of what it's like to be full-time employees. And if they complete a two-year fellowship, they're eligible for full-fledged state employment.

"I'm going to guess, at any given time, we probably have 75 applicants and 40 to 50 interns working in state agencies," said Hank Batty, deputy administrator for programs at the Office of Personnel Management. He estimated CAPIP has had that number of participants consistently for at least the past few years.

"I'd say 90 or 95 percent convert to be regular state employees," said Denae Edwards, CAPIP's program coordinator. In addition, upon completing the executive fellowship, many of the interns join state service with a promotion. "We have several within our agency who were executive fellows at one time and now are managers and directors of departments, so it's a really good program to cultivate your future agency personnel."

Edwards joined the Office of Personnel Management in 2007, and has since, she's watched the program and its participants thrive.

"[When] agencies currently want to fill their talent pool with fresh, new, technologically savvy undergraduates and executive fellows, they come straight to CAPIP," she said. "We often have them request certain types of degrees and course backgrounds. We have all that information ready for them, so we're able to fulfill their needs whenever they need a certain type of student."

CAPIP has participating students from various fields of study, including IT. Enrollees come from 11 universities, some local and others out of state. The program is a sterling example of a college recruitment effort that works.

Meanwhile, Ross and his colleagues in Missouri's Information Technology Services Division (ITSD) have taken a high-tech approach to attracting Millennial employees to technology careers. In their efforts to attract young people who are well versed in the Internet's social networking power - exemplified by household names, such as Facebook and MySpace - the ITSD has held Second Life job fairs.

Second Life is a popular three-dimensional, online virtual world created by Linden Lab. Residents, as Second Life are called, create avatars and live vicariously through their digital representatives. Missouri hosted a virtual job fair in February 2008, which was popular enough to warrant a second one held on June 24, 2008. In September 2008, Missouri hired its first employee from Second

Hilton Collins, Staff Writer Hilton Collins  | 

Hilton Collins is a former staff writer for Government Technology and Emergency Management magazines.