New Tech Partnership Legislation Passes
New federal legislation targets shortage of IT managers.
Federal legislation to create a public/private exchange program for IT managers in government and industry passed April 10 in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The new legislation, the "Digital Tech Corps Act of 2002," is designed to address a projected shortfall in the number of federal information technology managers. At least half of the federal IT workforce will be eligible to retire in the next few years, according to a General Accounting Office report issued recently.
The legislation, which was introduced by Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., chairman of the House Government Reform Committee's Technology and Procurement Policy Subcommittee, allows mid-level IT managers in federal agencies and leading-edge private companies to swap jobs for at least six months and for as long as two years.
"The Tech Corps is an innovative and inexpensive solution to one of the federal government's most pressing problems - the shortage of trained IT workers," Davis said. "And this legislation will also help the federal government better manage complex IT projects. It will improve the skills of federal IT managers by exposing them to cutting-edge management trends in the private sector and help federal agencies recruit and retain talented IT managers by offering them a valuable career development tool. As well, it will allow private sector IT managers to apply their skills to challenging IT problems at federal agencies."
Davis maintains that too many of government's complex IT procurements continue to fail because of improper management. The exchange program will give government IT managers insight and experience in how the best companies in the world are successfully managing IT so they can bring this knowledge back into government.
Under the legislation, exchange workers continue to receive pay and benefits from their original employer. The bill prohibits workers from the private sector from revealing trade secrets of their employers. And upon returning to their company, private-sector employees who do exchange work for the government are prohibited from lobbying the agency where they worked for one year.
The Tech Corps gives private sector IT employees the opportunity to volunteer for rewarding public service. And in tackling some of the world's toughest IT problems, they can return to their companies understanding the challenges facing the world's largest employer.