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Our Director Director's Blog

STEM

Last week, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) co-hosted the first ever Data Jam focused on jobs, labor & skills.

Closing the skills gap and especially empowering the Federal Science Technology
Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) workforce is key in our efforts to deliver on the core mission of OPM: to recruit, train and retain a world class workforce for the 21st Century.

This event at the White House was a way to bring together innovators, entrepreneurs and experts in technology to brainstorm new uses of data as another tool in our tool kit for this effort.


The number of Federal jobs that rely on STEM talent is amazing. More than 300,000 people comprise the Federal STEM workforce nationwide– from scientists researching cancer cures at the National Institutes of Health to astronauts putting satellites into space at NASA to web developers helping people access mortgage information at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

 These STEM workers are vital to the Federal government’s mission and OPM is determined to work with agencies to help them better recruit, train, and retain such talented professionals.  And its OPM’s responsibility to find innovative ways to better use the key personnel and applicant data that we guard even as we ensure the integrity and security of this information.

That’s where this Data Jam and future meetings like it comes in. The first brainstorming session focused on six key issues:

  • Identifying skills & talent in real-time
  • Optimizing quality of work produced
  • Tracking flow into, through, and out of various career paths
  • Employee engagement and its impacts
  • Projecting future STEM needs
  • Diversity of the STEM workforce

And the Data Jam elicited some exciting proposed solutions – from data visualizations to online tools to skills marketplaces. The participants committed to building some prototypes of these innovative solutions. We want to partner with entrepreneurs and innovators to develop tools that can ensure that the American people have a Federal STEM workforce that is more diverse, more capable, and more engaged than ever before.  

Data Jam was only the first step. Later this year OPM and OSTP, in collaboration with other Federal agencies, will showcase some of the innovative solutions raised at Data Jam at the first Jobs, Labor & Skills Datapalooza.

We want to hear from everyone who has an idea of how to better use open data to help us grow and expand the Federal STEM workforce. This is a goal we can achieve together.


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