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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 22, 2004
Contact: Brendan LaCivita
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Director Kay Coles James Issues Exchange Program for IT Employees

Program would detail Federal IT employees to private sector

Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued proposed rules in the January 15, 2004 edition of the Federal Register that would allow Federal information technology (IT) employees to participate in a program where they could temporarily work in IT positions in the private sector. The program also allows for the voluntary services of private sector IT employees.

"This program not only allows Federal IT employees to share their knowledge and skills with their colleagues in the private sector, it also allows Federal IT employees to gain a clearer understanding of how IT efforts are developed and executed in the private sector," remarked OPM Director Kay Coles James.

The "Information Technology Exchange" program, which will enhance the competency of the Federal work force in using IT to deliver government information and services as defined in President Bush's Management Agenda (PMA), was authorized by the 2002 e-Government Act. The program is an essential tool agencies can use as they implement the PMA scorecard. Similarly, private sector organizations also will benefit from this two-way information sharing tool.

James stated, "The IT Exchange Program represents OPM's efforts to work closely with our colleagues at OMB to advance e-Government and the PMA by fostering the interchange of talent between the Federal government and the private sector. Additionally, it reflects the assistance OPM has received from elected officials, particularly Congressman Tom Davis who has been a strong supporter of Administration efforts to implement the e-Government initiatives outlined in the President's Management Agenda."

"This program has a simple premise: through partnership, the public and private sector can do a better job of tackling government's IT skills shortage than the government can do alone. The Tech Corps is also an innovative and inexpensive solution to one of the Federal government's most pressing problems - the shortage of trained IT workers," said Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis.

"Most importantly, this two-way transfer of talent will reap great benefits for the American people, as our government gets an infusion of IT talent to kick-start e-Government initiatives and help fight the war on terrorism at home and abroad."

Detail of employees participating in the exchange program would last from three months to one year, and could be extended to three months for an additional year. Only Federal employees who are exceptional performers from the GS-11 level or above (or equivalent, which includes but is not limited to Veterans' Recruitment Appointments, certain interns, and Senior Executive Service members) would be eligible to participate. Federal IT employees would be unable to spend more than six years in a detail assignment.

James said, "OPM is looking forward to receiving comments from the public on the proposed rules and will carefully weigh concerns and feedback." As part of the process on this regulation, OPM is collecting public comments. For consideration, they are due by March 15 and can be sent by e-mail to employ@opm.gov or by fax to (202) 606-2329. Written comments may be mailed to:

Ms. Leah M. Meisel
Deputy Associate Director for Talent and Capacity Policy
U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Room 6551
1900 E St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20415
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Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.


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