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    Our Director Director's Blog

    Welcome! We are committed to recruiting and retaining a world-class workforce for the American people.

    Take a look at our blogs and share with others. Once you are on a particular blog page, you can give us the thumbs up. Connect with OPM on Twitter: @USOPM and Also, find us on other social media channels.

    The second President’s Management Agenda pillar is “service.” We join the federal workforce to serve and the American people expect an effective service.

    The public believes that the federal government serves critical roles and, in some areas, performs them well. Yet public trust in the federal government continues to decline and currently sits at near-historic lows. While the federal government’s business is to serve the American people in core mission areas, it has become too bureaucratic and complex to meet the needs of the 21st century. We must take care to ensure that existing government policies and procedures help us to better achieve the Founders’ goal of constitutional self-government.

    Federal customers range from small businesses seeking loans, to families receiving disaster support, to veterans owed proper benefits and medical care. They deserve a customer experience that compares to—or exceeds—that of leading private sector organizations, yet most federal services lag behind the private sector. The Executive Branch must develop capabilities to better facilitate end-to-end customer experiences that cross agency boundaries and create faster, more convenient, and more cost-effective interactions. And we are doing just that.

    One example is the Small Business Administration’s lender match tool. This online tool matches small business owners with either private sector lenders or SBA loans, helping these entrepreneurs access the capital they need to grow their business and create jobs. 

    Take a look. This is the type of work that gets me excited. I spent years in the private sector working to improve services for companies like Bank of America. I entered government service so that I could use my abilities to facilitate change and innovation for the American public. These PMA initiatives represent why I am here doing what I’m doing and there is no shortage of them.

    Just take a look at the General Services Administration. They are implementing an online shopping portal allowing federal agencies easier access to commercial products. The Acquisition Gateway helps federal government buyers from all agencies act as one acquisition community. The goal is to achieve acquisition excellence together. This is the modernization of services that we are pursuing.

    Take a look at this video.

    OPM also plays an important role in the “service” aspect of the PMA. OPM provides:

    • Human resources leadership and support to federal agencies;
    • Directs human resources and employee management services; 
    • Administers retirement benefits;
    • Manages healthcare and insurance programs;
    • Oversees merit-based and inclusive hiring in the civil service; and, 
    • Provides a secure employment process

    As you can see, we provide a lot to agencies that allows them to do their job for the good of the country. At the end of the day, the federal government must respond to the world in which citizens live. This means delivering services in modern and responsive ways. We want the American taxpayer to be satisfied with the return on their investment. The President’s Management Agenda is committed to this goal.

    If you are interested in learning more about what the PMA has accomplished, I’d encourage you take a look at my blog commemorating the Agenda’s one year anniversary.

    On March 19, 2018, we began a new chapter in the story of our Government. The President’s Management Agenda (PMA) was launched with the ambitious objective of developing an effective, modern Government that is responsive and accountable to the American people. As I look back at what we have accomplished so far, I can proudly say we are on the right path.

    OPM is taking this change-minded agenda and running with it. As the chief human resources agency and personnel policy manager for the Federal Government, we are in the process of laying down the groundwork that will enable us to build a 21st century workforce. Here are some terrific examples of actions taken by OPM over the previous year.

    Job Candidate Assessment

    OPM and U.S. Digital Services (USDS) are working with partner agencies to pilot USDS’ highly-effective approach to assessing candidates for highly technical positions, particularly IT. The approach uses a multi-hurdle process that leverages reviews and interviews subject matter experts to identify the best qualified candidates.

    Delegating Direct Hire Authority

    OPM is providing new Governmentwide direct hiring authorities (DHA) to help agencies meet critical hiring needs and better compete for top talent where severe shortages of candidates and/or critical hiring needs exist.

    Recently, OPM provided DHA for:

    • A variety of STEM positions
    • Cybersecurity and related positions
    • Acquisitions positions
    • Various medical and public-health related positions supporting the President’s directive to combat the opioid crisis

    Expect more to be done in this area in the months ahead.

    Hiring Flexibility and Referral List Flexibility

    We are working to alter a long-standing hiring format from “The Rule of Three” to “The Rule of Many.” OPM is proposing regulations to implement a change in law that eliminates the “Rule of Three” (which limits agencies to consider the three top-scoring candidates on a referral list and gives agencies greater authority to define the number of top-scoring candidates to consider, using a logical cut-off score or similar mechanism. The revision does not change veteran’s preference – veterans would still be granted preference points and would continue to be entitled to selection preference over a non-veteran candidate with the same or lower score.

    New Pay Systems for Critical Positions

    OPM is leveraging an existing statutory authority that allows for designing alternative pay and classification systems in cases where the traditional General Schedule isn’t meeting our current demands. For example, we are working with interagency partners to design and pilot an alternative system for economists, a high-demand occupation where the Government is facing hiring and retention challenges.

    Deregulation through AI

    Artificial intelligence will play a major role in the 21st Century Workforce. AI processing will handle thousands of pages of regulations looking for potential redundancies or out of date language. This will save time and effort in updating regulations governmentwide.

    Just Getting Started

    This is just the tip of the iceberg. We are also making progress in reskilling and upskilling the workforce, shifting from low-value work to high-value work, and creating countless other policy initiatives to create a more effective, efficient, and accountable Federal Government.

    All of this work is geared towards Mission, Service, and Stewardship. The Workforce of the Future will be built around work that focuses on Mission and providing the greatest Service possible. This process will allow us to become greater stewards of taxpayer dollars.

    This is an exciting time to be in the Federal Government. We are only celebrating the first year of this agenda. Over the months and years ahead, we will continue the transformation of our Government to meet the demands of a modern world.

    This post is the first in a series of seven detailing the three pillars and three drivers of the President’s Management Agenda (PMA).

    Most Americans may not think about the federal government every day—but when they need government services, they expect them to work. As the President has affirmed, “at all levels of government, our public servants put our country and our people first. The hard work of our mail carriers, teachers, firefighters, transit workers, and many more, creates an environment that allows individuals and companies to thrive.” The President’s Management Agenda (PMA) enables the government to work more effectively and efficiently to serve all Americans.

    The American people count on the federal government every day —from national security to infrastructure to food and water safety—government must have clear and aligned structures that allow federal programs, staff, and agencies to deliver the outcomes the public expects.

    The President’s Management Agenda lays out a long-term vision for modernizing the federal government in key areas that will improve the ability of agencies to deliver mission outcomes, provide excellent service, and effectively steward taxpayer dollars on behalf of the American people. These are the three core objectives or “pillars” of the PMA: Mission, Service, and Stewardship.

    In this first blog, I want to focus on the “mission” aspect of the PMA. The President’s Management Agenda lays out a long-term vision for modernizing the federal government in key areas that will improve the ability of agencies to deliver mission outcomes. Federal agencies will modify everything they do toward accomplishing these important mission outcomes.

    Public servants are accountable for mission-driven results, and therefore must also have the necessary tools and resources to deliver. The President's Management Agenda helps accomplish this mission. The government must enable senior leaders and front-line managers to align staff skills with evolving mission needs. This task is something I am heavily involved in.

    Modern technology is necessary to achieve mission outcomes efficiently. By pairing the right workforce with the right tools, anything is possible.

    OPM is committed to implementing the PMA to deliver on results. We are adapting the federal workforce to effectively meet mission demands and public expectations. In the end, the work of the Federal Government must be centered on its mission. Through the PMA, we can make that happen.

    To learn more about the President's Management Agenda, click here.

    Each February, our nation celebrates the heritage, history, and achievements of African Americans as we usher in African American History Month.

    In 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded what has now become National African American History Month to remember and celebrate African American history. He initially selected the second week of February, as it lands between the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

    The week eventually became known as African History Month and has been recognized by every U.S. President since 1976.

    The theme for African American History Month in 2019 is “Black Migrations,” which highlights the literal migration of millions of African Americans from the rural South to cities in the industrialized North during the Great Migration, as well as the movement of peoples of African descent from poverty during the time of slavery to the national stage over centuries of American life.

    This month, we commemorate the achievements of African Americans, many of whom have faced inequality, prejudice, and discrimination in the past. These challenges have proven no match for the resourcefulness, strength, and determination of the African American community, made up of individuals who continue to pursue their own dreams and inspire Americans of all ethnic and social backgrounds.

    Today, achievements made by African Americans can found in across American culture, including in sports, politics, literature, science, the arts, and beyond.

    • During the 1936 Olympic Games, Jesse Owens not only became the first African American to win a gold medal, but also became the first American to win four track and field gold medals at the Olympics. African American sports legends like Jesse Owens continue to challenge and inspire us to rise above the obstacles in our midst and fight to achieve our goals.
    • African American civil rights leaders including Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks have made significant and lasting contributions to the fight for freedom and racial equality. Because of their hard-fought victories, today Americans of all nationalities and ethnicities enjoy greater freedoms, equality, and economic and social opportunity.
    • NASA employee and African American mathematician Katherine G. Johnson worked on trajectory analysis for Alan Shepard’s 1961 Mission Freedom 7, which was America’s first time launching a manned flight into space. In 1962, she prepared calculations of orbital mechanics for a mission John Glenn, who became the first human sent into orbit. The success of this mission underscored a turning point in the competition between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in space. For her outstanding work with NASA, President Obama awarded Johnson the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.

    Today, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management celebrates the achievements of the African American community both to our Federal workforce and to our nation as a whole.

    As President Trump has said in his 2019 African American History Month proclamation,

    National African American History Month is a call to each and every citizen of our great land to reflect on the cultural, scientific, political, and economic contributions of African Americans, which are woven throughout American society. We remember, learn from, and build on the past, so that, together, we can build a better and more prosperous tomorrow.

    You can read the full presidential proclamation here.

    This month, I hope you take time to reflect on the achievements and contributions made by African Americans throughout our nation’s history.

    I also encourage you to learn more about the life, traditions and culture of African Americans by visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture in person or online. Happy National African American History Month!

    How does OPM determine the operating status of the federal government?

    When an event such as inclement weather or a natural disaster occurs, OPM works together with our federal, state, and local partners to determine the proper operating status for the federal government in the Washington, DC area.

    We have a 24-hour situation room that monitors anything which might affect the status of the federal government in the National Capital Region. When we have an event like a snow storm approaching the area, we immediately begin to prepare. There is a Council of Governments conference call that typically includes over 200 representatives from a variety of partners such as:

    • The National Weather Service, FEMA, and NOAA
    • The departments of transportation for the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland
    • Public transportation providers (including WMATA bus and rail, Amtrak, VRE, and even regional bus services).
    • Power companies, law enforcement, and school districts

    This collaborative process gets us the latest information, allowing us to make timely decisions based on input from all of our partners.

    Check out our video about this topic here: Operating Status Decision

    How do I find the operating status of the federal government?

    The operating status of the federal government can be found through:

    1. Our website
    2. Our OPM Alert mobile app
    3. Our social media accounts: Twitter - @USOPM, Facebook - /USOPM

    Additionally, provides useful information on emergency planning

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