GT on the Street: Public CIOs Make their Pitch to Lure Millennials into Government Work

Enticing millennials into the public sector isn't always easy, but someone's gotta do it.

by / August 1, 2017

Do millennials want to work for government? The short answer is ... sort of. As we covered in a previous GT on the Street, some do simply because they want to give back to their communities, while others are more hesitant given perceptions of the slower systems and business processes in the public sector.

For those on the fence, a few CIOs gave us their pitches. For Mississippi CIO Craig Orgeron, IT and government is the most exciting place to work. "I'm biased, but I think that really — I mean where else can you really bring those kind of ideas to bear that can impact policy that can change people's lives?"

In another bid to entice millennials to public service, Georgia CIO Calvin Rhodes appealed to those who want to make a difference — but also noted that government does not move as slowly as many think.

"I've been there and experienced it; we've been able to do some very interesting things, and do them quickly," he said. "But to the individual in this space who wants to come in and work on an area and accomplish something, we have the ability to move you around between agencies so you can experience many different things and take your skills and truly make a difference. So come and help us get it done — we need your skill sets, we need you to be interested in helping us make our tomorrow much better than what it is today."

For Indiana CIO Dewand Neely, it's about taking a chance.

"I tell folks that, you know, just give me a shot, give me one or two years and, hey, if anything else, you're going to get to touch some big systems, you're going to learn a lot of great things that you can take anywhere you want," he said, "and then hopefully within that time frame, I can change their mind to [get] them to stay."

And in Utah, CIO Mike Hussey is interested to hear millennials' thoughts on how government IT might improve.

"I would always be a listening ear and want to hear what people have to say," he said, "so come on in sometime and we'll show you around, and show you the great things we're doing."