"We have a pretty significant retirement potential on our hands," said New York State Executive Deputy Chief Information Officer Karen Geduldig, echoing a refrain heard from many state IT leaders at the recent National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) conference in Austin. In New York, 14 percent of the IT workforce is eligible to retire. In five years, that percentage jumps to nearly 35, according to Geduldig.
Indeed, recruiting and retaining skilled technology staff is a challenge shared across states and localities, as evidenced by recent surveys including the Center for Digital Government's 2017 Digital Counties Survey and its 2016 Digital States Survey, both of which rank the issue among the top five concerns.
Geduldig points to several of Gov. Cuomo's programs aimed at developing a skilled talent pipeline, like internships and fellowships, as well as working in close collaboration with civil service partners, as essential components of addressing the state's workforce challenges.
But she also sees potential for certain emerging technologies to help transfer the expertise of departing staff to the next generation of talent, getting them up to speed and ready to contribute more quickly. Specifically, she thinks cognitive computing and machine learning have a role to play in the process.
"If you use that technology to download the institutional knowledge of people who are leaving, you'll be that much faster in training people as they come on board," she said.
*The Center for Digital Government is part of e.Republic, Government Technology's parent company.