Click here to skip navigation
An official website of the United States Government.
Skip Navigation

In This Section

    Our Director Director's Blog

    Posts By:

    Chalkboard with apple, pencils and clock, with the phrase 'Back to School'

    The summer is flying by. Youngsters have begun picking out their new notebooks and backpacks as they get ready to go back to school. This may be a good time for Federal employees to consider going back to the classroom to enhance their knowledge and skills.

    It’s possible the path forward in your career is in another field - perhaps even one that did not exist a few years ago. Or maybe you just want to develop in your current career. This might even be a great time to build a career in one of our high-demand fields like information technology, health care, accounting, or cybersecurity.

    Each year the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey tells us that Federal employees want more opportunities to enrich their learning and branch out into new fields and new opportunities.

    Take it from Tameka Lyons. She was already enrolled in the University of Maryland University College when she joined the National Institutes of Health. She found out about the tuition discount for Federal employees. For Tameka, the 25 percent discount on her tuition meant she was able to fund her last two semesters out of pocket. “I didn’t need to take out loans, so that was just an awesome feeling,” she said. Tameka said she didn’t have to contemplate taking fewer classes because she was worried about being saddled with so much debt.

    Tameka, who is now an HR specialist at the Department of Justice, is just one of the many Federal employees taking advantage of this important benefit.

    If you’re thinking about where to go to get the advanced learning that will help you take the next step on your career path, I wanted to make sure you knew about the tuition discounts on higher education that are available to you, your spouse, and your legal dependents. These are opportunities for both in person and online learning, depending on the program. OPM has made agreements with these six institutions and we’re working on more alliances in the future. Here are the available programs and the links to more information about their classes.

    I encourage all Federal employees  to continue to expand their  knowledge and education – whether through the programs listed above or in the many other educational programs available at your agency or at schools across the country. We hope these discounts make it easier for you and your family to reach your educational goals.


    Infographic which reads: Beat the Heat, stay cool - stay hydrated, stay informed

    Summer is a great time for beach getaways, barbecues in the backyard, and other outdoor activities that we long for during the cold, winter months.

    But it’s also a time when severe heat and humidity – like we’ve seen during this summer season – make it necessary for us all to take precautions to protect ourselves and our family’s health and well-being.

    The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have teamed up to remind all of us, including agencies and employees across government about what they can do to protect all Federal workers during potentially dangerous heat waves.

    Regardless of where we work, we can all follow some basic common-sense practices as outlined on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website: Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible; wear lightweight, light-colored clothing; drink more water than usual, and check for extreme heat alerts.

    It’s also important to remember that for Federal employees, OPM’s workplace flexibilities that may be used to reduce health risks during such extreme heat periods. If your supervisor approves, telework-ready employees may telework from home on a day when air quality conditions are poor. If your agency policies allow, an employee working a flexible work schedule may elect to adjust when they come to work and when they leave in order to avoid commuting during the hottest period of the day. Employees can also ask for annual leave, earned compensatory time or credit hours on a day when severe heat and humidity are threatening their health and welfare.

    OPM has issued a memorandum to Chief Human Capital Officers across government outlining these flexibilities and including some Federal Government websites that offer more tips on how to handle severe heat and humidity conditions.

    I know that all Federal employees are dedicated and committed to doing all they can to serve the American people. At the same time, we all must be mindful of protecting our health during severe weather events - whether cold and storm during winter or the kind of high temperatures and humidity we’ve been experiencing this summer.


    Today the Administration is directing a series of actions to identify, recruit, develop, retain, and expand the pipeline of the best, brightest, and most diverse cybersecurity talent for Federal service and for our nation.

    Every day, Federal departments and agencies face sophisticated and persistent cyber threats that pose strategic, economic, and security challenges to our Nation. Addressing these cyber threats has required a bold reassessment of the way we approach security in the digital age and a significant investment in critical security tools and our cybersecurity workforce. And these threats demand that we continue to enhance the security of the Federal digital infrastructure and improve the ability to detect and respond to cyber incidents as they occur. That is why, in 2009, President Obama initiated a comprehensive strategy to confront this ever-evolving challenge. The strategy brings all levels of government together with private industry, academia, international partners, and the public, to raise the level of cybersecurity in both the public and private sectors; deter and disrupt adversary activities in cyberspace; improve capabilities for incident response and resilience; and enact legislation to both incentivize and remove legal barriers to cybersecurity threat information-sharing among private entities and between the private sector and the Government. While we have made significant progress, we must do more.

    The Challenge

    The Federal cybersecurity workforce has the challenging mission of protecting government information technology (IT) systems, networks, and data from sophisticated adversaries; safeguarding sensitive data; supporting our Nation’s financial, energy, healthcare, transportation, and other critical systems; and securing our critical infrastructure and intelligence systems. However, the supply of cybersecurity talent to meet the increasing demand of the Federal Government is simply not sufficient. As part of a broad-sweeping review of Federal cybersecurity policies, plans, and procedures, the Cybersecurity Sprint launched by the Office of Management and Budget last year revealed two key observations about the Federal cybersecurity workforce:

    1. Federal agencies’ lack of cybersecurity and IT talent is a major resource constraint that impacts their ability to protect information and assets; and,
    2. A number of existing Federal initiatives address this challenge, but implementation and awareness of these programs are inconsistent.

    Moreover, this shortfall affects not only the Federal government, but the private sector as well. Recent industry reports project this shortfall will expand rapidly over the coming years unless private sector companies and the Federal Government act to expand the cybersecurity workforce pipeline to meet the increasing demand.

    The Opportunity

    To address these and other cybersecurity challenges, earlier this year the President directed his Administration to implement the Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP) – a capstone of more than seven years of determined effort – which takes near- term actions and puts in place a long-term strategy that builds on other cybersecurity efforts while calling for innovation and investments in cybersecurity education and training to strengthen the cybersecurity talent pipeline. As directed by the CNAP and the President’s 2017 Budget, today we are releasing the first-ever Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Strategy to grow the pipeline of highly skilled cybersecurity talent entering federal service, and retain and better invest in the talent already in public service. And it sets forth a vision where private sector cybersecurity leaders would see a tour of duty in Federal service as an essential stop in their career arc.

    The Strategy establishes four key initiatives:

    Expand the Cybersecurity Workforce through Education and Training. The Cybersecurity Workforce Strategy supports the CNAP initiatives that propose investing $62 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 funding to expand cybersecurity education across the Nation. This funding will lay the foundation needed to ultimately address the shortage of cybersecurity talent across the country. These initiatives include offering competitive scholarships and covering full tuition for college and university students through the CyberCorps®: Scholarship for Service program; collaborating with academic institutions to develop guidance for cybersecurity core curriculum and allow colleges and universities to expand their course offerings; and providing program development grants to academic institutions to hire or retain professors, adopt a cybersecurity core curriculum and strengthen their overall cybersecurity education programs.

    • Recruit the Nation’s Best Cyber Talent for Federal Service. The Workforce Strategy initiates efforts to implement a government-wide recruitment strategy that includes enhanced outreach efforts to diverse cyber talent — including women, minorities, and veterans— from apprenticeship programs, colleges, universities, and private industry, as part of a comprehensive plan. Over the coming months we will partner with agencies to find ways to streamline hiring practices consistent with current statutes and leverage existing hiring authorities, as appropriate, to quickly bring on new talent. We will explore opportunities to establish a cybersecurity cadre within the Presidential Management Fellows program that leverages the recent success of the Presidential Innovation Fellows program and other dynamic approaches for bringing top technologists and innovators into government service. Additionally, we will explore opportunities to expand the use of new or revised pay authorities that can serve as a model for future government-wide efforts.

    • Retain and Develop Highly Skilled Talent. To improve employee retention and development efforts, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will work with Federal agencies to develop cybersecurity career paths, badging and credentialing programs, rotational assignments, and foster opportunities for employees to obtain new skills and become subject matter experts in their field. Additionally, the Workforce Strategy directs the development of a government-wide cybersecurity orientation program for new cybersecurity professionals to improve information sharing and employees’ knowledge of upcoming developmental and training opportunities. The Workforce Strategy also looks to increase the use of special pay authorities, and improve training and development opportunities for cyber and non-cyber employees.

    • Identify Cybersecurity Workforce Needs. Cybersecurity is a dynamic and crosscutting field, and effective workforce planning requires a clear understanding of the gaps between the workforce of today and the needs of tomorrow. The Workforce Strategy directs agencies to adopt a new approach to identifying their cybersecurity workforce gaps by using the National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework developed by National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) partner agencies, which identifies 31 discrete specialty areas within cybersecurity workforce. Agencies are now able to better identify, recruit, assess, and hire the best candidates with specific cyber-related skills and abilities, and we are already making progress in this effort. The Federal Government has already hired 3,000 new cybersecurity and IT professionals in the first 6 months of this fiscal year. However, there is clearly more work to do, and we are committed to a plan by which agencies would hire 3,500 more individuals to fill critical cybersecurity and IT positions by January 2017.

    Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility among agency leadership, employees, contractors, private industry, and the American people. And the Workforce Strategy details numerous initiatives to harness this collective power and help strengthen the security of Federal networks, systems, and assets. To address cybersecurity challenges in the immediate future, the Administration will invest in the existing Federal workforce through initiatives focused on training and retaining existing talent. At the same time, the Government will adjust the way it recruits, including the way it approaches talented students and potential employees in the cybersecurity workforce outside Federal service.

    We must recognize that these changes will take time to implement, and the Workforce Strategy’s long-term success will depend on the attention, innovation, and resources from all levels of government. The initiatives discussed in this Strategy represent a meaningful first step toward engaging Federal and non-Federal stakeholders and provide the resources necessary to establish, strengthen, and grow a pipeline of cybersecurity talent well into the future.

    Shaun Donovan is the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
    Beth Cobert is the Acting Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
    Michael Daniel is Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator.
    Tony Scott is the U.S. Chief Information Officer.

    Also see:


    Flag background with stars, 4th of July Independence Day 1776 written in the center

    Each year, Americans celebrate Independence Day with parties, fireworks, parades, and concerts. But not all Americans will be grilling out with family and friends. Federal workers across the country will be hard at work on Monday, serving in a multitude of ways. As we celebrate, let’s take a moment to recognize their service.

    If you plan on enjoying the holiday weekend at one of America’s national parks, you will surely run into a National Park Ranger. They are responsible for protecting and supervising our parks 365 days a year. They also help make visiting our parks safe and a memorable experience, including giving guided tours to millions of Americans and tourists from around the world.

    Law enforcement and medical personnel will also be standing their posts on the Fourth of July. In the Washington D.C. metro area, United States Capitol Police and Secret Service agents will be on high alert, protecting our elected officials and the thousands of tourists coming into the District of Columbia to celebrate the Fourth.

    And just like doctors, nurses, and EMT’s in the private sector, medical personnel working for the Federal Government will be busy taking care of patients on the holiday.  Twenty million Americans are veterans and they receive medical care at the many VA hospitals and clinics across the country.

    In this year’s proclamation in honor of Public Service Recognition Week, the President highlighted how the country’s progress is fueled by selfless citizens who dedicate their lives to serving their fellow Americans and working towards making our country the best it can be.

    “Civil servants demonstrate resolve and inspire optimism in sectors throughout our country. They are engineers and educators, military service members and social workers, and their individual and collective contributions drive us forward on the path toward an ever brighter tomorrow,” the proclamation said.

    This Fourth of July, while you are celebrating with family and friends, please take a moment to remember the dedicated public servants who are spending their day at work, helping to ensure our country remains safe for all who call America home. 


    Last week, thousands of Americans came together in Washington, D.C. for the first ever United State of Women conference, a day-long celebration of what women have achieved and a conversation about the important work we still need to do to reach gender equality.

    I’m happy to say that like many agencies throughout the Federal Government, as an active member of the White House Council on Women and Girls, OPM participated in the lead-up to this historic event. We provided information about the status of women in the Federal service – from narrowing the gender pay gap to flexibilities and work-life programs that make it easier for women – and men – to succeed in the workplace, to the Federal Government’s record of hiring women, especially in some mission critical positions.

    As you’ll see in the Women in the Federal Workforce infographics, today the 897,892 women who work for the Federal Government make up 44 percent of the entire Federal workforce. Women are succeeding across government – from entry-level positions to various leadership roles. Here are just a couple of examples:

    • The number of Federal women working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – or STEM – fields is on the rise. In 2008, 64,574 were working in Federal STEM jobs. That number rose to 70,047 in 2015. Women have been hired at an increasing rate into the Pathways Programs, including the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) programs. The PMF is the Federal Government’s flagship leadership development program, which has a special STEM track.

    • The  representation  of  women  in  the Senior Executive Service (SES), the  Federal Government’s highest  career  level, increased by five percent between  2008  and  2015. And OPM is working with agencies across government to increase awareness of leadership development programs like Executive Women in Motion and other mentoring and training opportunities.

    By creating opportunity at every level of the workforce, we are working to attract, empower, and retain a talented and productive workforce.  Our commitment to workplace flexibilities and employee wellness makes the Federal service an ideal place for employees to build their careers and cultivate fulfilling lives outside the workplace.

    Building on directives from the President, OPM developed two comprehensive handbooks and an online training course to help Federal employees better understand their leave and workplace flexibility options, including providing support for elder care, childbirth, adoption, and foster care.

    The government continues to be a model employer for men and women in helping them maintain a healthy work-life balance and feel fulfilled in their jobs. Data from the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) shows that satisfaction with Federal work-life programs is very high among women – and men - who participate in programs such as flexible work schedules, telework, health and wellness programs, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), child care programs, and elder care programs.

    The data also shows that the gender pay gap in the Federal government continues to narrow. In 2014, nationally, women were paid 79 cents for every dollar a man was paid. In 2015, across the Federal Government, women in white-collar jobs were paid 89 cents on the dollar. With more women than ever contributing to the government’s mission critical occupations, the gender pay gap continues to narrow even more for women working in STEM, IT/cyber security, economist, auditor, contract specialist, and human resources positions jobs. In the Senior Executive Service, as of 2015, women were paid equally with their male counterparts.

    In April of 2014, in response to a memorandum from the President, OPM issued a Governmentwide Strategy on Advancing Pay Equality in the Federal Government. Since that strategy was issued, OPM has taken a number of actions to narrow the gender pay gap in the Federal workforce. For example, on July 30, 2015, we issued a memorandum cautioning agencies not to solely use a job candidate’s existing salary to set pay, as that can potentially adversely affect candidates who may have taken time off from their careers or whose existing salary doesn’t reflect an applicant’s current qualifications.  


    The summit shone a spotlight on the accomplishments women have made in the workplace and on the work still to be done. At OPM and across the Federal Government, we continue to work to make sure all employees are aware of the workplace flexibilities they may be eligible for, and to encourage women – and men – to work in the many mission critical occupations and to apply for leadership positions.


    Control Panel

    Unexpected Error

    There was an unexpected error when performing your action.

    Your error has been logged and the appropriate people notified. You may close this message and try your command again, perhaps after refreshing the page. If you continue to experience issues, please notify the site administrator.

    Working...