DOD CIVILIAN CAREERS – Federal Government Employment
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According to a study by the University of Exeter, enriching spaces with plants increased productivity by 15 percent. The federal government is very efficient in filling positions. Even Delaware, which is a small state, has plentiful opportunities. Too often, the notion of automation conjures up the image of machines replacing humans.
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We need to remember that the outdated personnel systems now causing such frustration were once positive innovations. The job classifications of the early 20th century reflected the scientific management principles of the time. Bureaucratic structures were introduced to help professionalize government workforces. Once highly effective, these systems have increasingly become problematic in our current technology-driven world.
If history is any guide, government will follow the private sector into the new world of work that is transforming organizations around the world. As we humans start working in tandem with machine intelligence, government agencies have the opportunity to do more, do better, and do things differently.
As figure 1 depicts, governments will have more options in terms of how work is performed, who performs this work, and where it is completed. This report examines how each of these upcoming changes could reshape the landscape of public sector operations, and how government agencies can position themselves for success in this new environment. Cognitive technology is having a real impact on the private sector, producing value in powerful new ways.
By , Amazon had more than , robots working in its warehouses, augmenting the human workforce. In the coming years, cognitive technologies will similarly reshape government work. Indeed, it is already starting. Like boxes on wheels, the bots deliver packages to recipients a day and travel at 6 kilometers per hour. The bots will send notifications to package recipients via a mobile app, who can then collect their mail by opening a drawer on the bots. This is just a hint of things to come.
As AI technology matures, the potential for automation and AI in government is likely to grow along with the benefits see figure 2. Lower costs or provide better service? Why not both? Clearly, governments can use automation to reduce costs. But a government agency can also use technology to enhance the services delivered to citizens.
When government employees are less burdened by routine tasks, they have more time to focus on higher-value activities. Indeed, this is how organizations can use technology to achieve both of these goals at once. Government agencies that adopt cognitive technologies can look forward to tangible gains. For example, consider the way a typical government worker spends her day today.
By breaking a job into individual activities and analyzing how feasible it would be to automate each task, we can estimate how many hours automation could free up. A Deloitte analysis of the potential savings from AI found the US federal government could free up more than 25 percent of working hours out of some 4. The analysis also found that some of the most labor-intensive activities performed by federal workers have moderate-to-high automation potential.
Those tasks include documenting or recording information, handling and moving objects, getting information, and communicating with colleagues. When we bolt new technology solutions onto existing processes, we are limiting their potential benefit. Too often, jobs are built around a series of tasks, and new technology is introduced to work within the parameters of these existing processes.
Instead, we should be redesigning government work around the problems we hope to solve. To do this, leaders should figure out how to bring together the unique capabilities of humans and machines, so they can each contribute the work they do best.
Digital systems, for example, excel at processing vast volumes of data and identifying patterns. Humans can then analyze those patterns, spotting anomalies and drawing new conclusions. When engaged as partners, digital systems and human workers accomplish more work, with fewer errors. Done well, a human-machine partnership can produce better solutions than either the digital or human behaviors could have produced alone. By shifting the focus from carrying out narrow, routine tasks to identifying and addressing unseen problems, human workers have the opportunity to spend their time engaged in four main types of activities:.
Most of the time, the system would operate autonomously, while the manager deals with exceptions or looks for opportunities to improve the system, relying on the machines to flag problems. If there is an accident or delay, the algorithm might suggest a mitigating action, but it would be up to the mobility manager to accept that suggestion, or to reject it and use a different tactic. But particularly when faced with a new or unusual problem—a protest, a terrorist incident, or even something as prosaic as unexpected road work—the human manager applies his or her judgment in combination with the system, and in collaboration with colleagues across the organization, to identify a suitable solution.
To gain the full benefits of AI, governments should design work that lets humans and machines each play to their unique strengths, complementing and supporting one another. By continuously monitoring data in multiple systems—such as a school absence, an emergency room visit, or a call to the home—machines can send a prompt to a social worker to initiate an investigation, who can then include that information as she assesses the level of risk.
To get the most from humans and machines working in tandem see figure 4 , particular attention should be paid to designing effective interfaces between the two. In developing human-machine partnerships, leaders should leverage current employees in applying human-centered design to reconstruct public sector work.
The goal, after all, is a process that leverages technology to serve end users. Human-centered design requires building a deep understanding of the users of a system, or the clients of a program, to focus on serving their needs, and using that understanding to inform decisions around how a work process might be augmented by technology.
HCD employs tools such as focus groups, ethnographic research, interviews, employee and customer personas and journey maps, and participatory design activities like workshops to explore the user experience. For example, when Toyota first introduced robotics in its factories in the s, it not only redesigned its work processes in parallel but also consulted employees and solicited ideas for improvements.
One example is the case of a June flight that crashed in the Atlantic Ocean on its way from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, killing all on board. When automated systems malfunctioned, the pilots found themselves unable to take over and keep the plane aloft. This was not an isolated problem. As the use of algorithms and automated systems increases in the future, processes should be designed to allow human employees to take over if systems fail and ensure that employees are trained and equipped with the skills to do so.
The system scope should include both AI and human behaviors and how they interact in both business-as-usual and exceptional situations. People are a part of the system, not just users of it.
A zoom-in approach enables a government agency to start small and hone in on individual tasks and processes that have the most potential to be optimized through automation. Zooming out enables government leaders to look at the bigger picture to determine what work redesign means for jobs, departments, and the organization as a whole.
Zooming out also helps leaders look beyond the near term to get a richer view of potential opportunities on the horizon and then set better strategies anchored on that longer-term opportunity. Too often, the notion of automation conjures up the image of machines replacing humans. In reality, this fear of job loss is likely overstated. Redesigning work to account for the mixed capabilities of humans and machines is inevitable and can ultimately be a positive development for government and government workers alike.
The key will be to manage the disruption so that it allows for innovation while helping individuals through the transition. Just as our understanding of work has changed, the workforce is also undergoing a transformation. In the past, governments largely accomplished their missions through the work of permanent employees, complemented by contractors.
Today, governments are accessing a much broader spectrum of talent options see figures 6 and 7. Governments have always used more than just permanent employees to do their work.
Along with traditional part-time and full-time employees, government agencies often rely on contractors, along with employees whose tenure is tied to specific grants. In fact, in , there were 2. Skills and expertise have shorter shelf lives: Due to ongoing changes in technology, society, business models, and industrial processes, workers must update their knowledge and skills throughout their careers.
People change jobs more often, whether by choice or due to the changing demands of employers. But while the average job tenure is growing shorter, people are living and working longer, increasing the overall length of careers.
With each ride, the employee obtains new training, perfects new skills, builds their network, and accumulates new experiences. With the changing nature of work, government agencies will need to find new ways to coordinate teams and staff talent. Possible models include:. Access to talent can follow a similar, on-demand model. It is creating a digital marketplace of prequalified individuals who possess talent in many different areas.
Agencies that need people with certain capabilities would be able to search the marketplace, quickly finding people to fill roles on projects of finite duration. This program allows certain public employees, chosen for their skills and their ability to innovate, to move among departments, picking projects that interest them and fit their skills. Proponents describe the Free Agents program as a way to attract top talent by offering mobility and letting employees do work they enjoy.
By looking at the collection of activities that make up a particular function traditionally performed by one person, it is possible to break the occupation into many small components and then consider each one separately to determine who or what can perform it best.
The employer can then look across the open talent spectrum to match different tasks with different talent options—assigning some activities to in-house staff, others to contractors or gig workers, and others to crowdsourcing.
Can governments really crowdsource talent? Yes, they can. Government agencies can tap into a huge ecosystem of borrowed, freelance, and open-source talent to do cutting-edge work. Launched in , this program called upon consumers, energy companies, entrepreneurs, and startups to develop solutions for the solar marketplace. After opening the contest and receiving business cases, the DoE selected 17 of the most promising and asked each to build a minimum viable product MVP , a product that early adopters could try, allowing the DOE to see which features they liked and what needed to be changed, improved, or added.
There was only one problem: The DOE had neither the capacity nor the technical skills to build a software prototype at the pace that a typical startup would, let alone 17 startups. So they turned to the crowdsourcing platform for computer programming with more than , top-tier developers, to work with the teams as they built their prototypes. Teams could use the budget to engage with developers to fill gaps in their software-based solutions. The challenges could be used to obtain everything from app design to back-end development and testing.
Using this model, the DOE had 17 working MVPs in nine weeks, products that could be put in front of users to see which might actually increase solar adoption. To enable greater agility and nimbleness in recruiting talent with specialized skill sets from the private sector, government agencies could create cadres of experts, who could be brought in for short, two- to three-year projects or to address specific needs.
These professionals could rotate in and out of the public, private, and nonprofit sectors freely. These programs allow tech talent from the private sector to work on projects at various agencies on a limited-term basis. Another example is the Michigan Cyber Civilian Corps. Like volunteer firefighters, this group of trained cybersecurity professionals can be called upon to volunteer their assistance if the governor declares a cyber incident an emergency.
Volunteers come from government, academia, and the private sector. Building a strong workforce requires effective hiring and retention strategies. Today, many job interviews are unstructured conversations and, for the most part, hiring managers are still using their intuition or judgment to choose candidates.
The results, however, have been hit or miss. This is why more private sector organizations are exploring the use of predictive analytics and augmented decision-making to find the right new candidates. GE, for example, teamed with a startup that combines machine learning and predictive analytics, to help find the right candidates for its digital transformation. As a result, GE dramatically shortened its time to hire by 70 percent, reducing the time of delivery of hires from 10 to 15 weeks to two to five weeks, and widened the candidate pool to 4 million.
Another startup, Pymetrics, has developed a platform that taps into the power of AI and behavioral science to match candidates to jobs, while also removing bias from hiring practices. Using a series of games, the platform tests candidates for traits like memory and risk preference to determine how successful and suitable they would be for particular roles.
AI-based tools like this hold the promise to increase candidate diversity, reduce time to hire, and increase retention rates. They also can help existing employees find new roles within their organization, which supports retention and internal mobility. While these examples may seem futuristic for many government agencies, the capabilities are rapidly evolving in the private sector and could readily be applied to building public sector workforces. Its government is also piloting an AI-driven matching tool that uses deep learning, allowing a direct keyword search of CVs and job postings.
Better tools for candidate selection may be coming to government agencies sooner than many expect. The deeper challenges are creating a work environment that can compete with the private sector and encourage highly qualified candidates to apply.
These include arrangements that allow employees to work wherever and whenever they choose, promote wellness, provide employees with learning resources, and other tools to manage the quality of the overall work experience. The private sector is working to dramatically improve workplaces by looking at the science behind work environments and using new technologies to put those insights into action. When recruiting and retaining employees, government organizations will be at a disadvantage if they cannot provide comparable work environments.
Leading workplaces also provide access to professional development, career planning tools, and the resources needed to work remotely.
So how can government organizations bring the workplace of the future to their employees? Here are some strategies:. Most people are aware that physical environments influence productivity and job satisfaction. This is especially true when value creation depends on creativity and collaboration. Too often, however, government workspaces are designed to minimize costs and fail to provide an inspiring environment.
There is strong evidence that a work environment that includes plants and a connection to nature can have a positive effect on productivity. According to a study by the University of Exeter, enriching spaces with plants increased productivity by 15 percent. You can find it here:. This is a good resource because it contains a lot of information and answers numerous questions you might have regarding federal government jobs.
Ideally, USAJobs. Because USAJobs. Besides just standard job openings, you can also see job opportunities in the federal government for students, internships, as well as other opportunities for getting involved and getting your foot in the door. You can find all of this on USAJobs. If you are taking your employment search seriously, it is important that you visit the website of each federal agency. Many of the agencies will not list their jobs on USAJobs.
I have provided the following list of alternative sites for you to research that are all very good:. As an employee, you may play a role in law enforcement, disaster response, cybersecurity, immigration, and numerous other vital aspects of national security.
This is a good site with lots of jobs. Career opportunities in the military are virtually limitless. You can get the sort of hands-on training you need to explore careers in aviation, accounting, education, medicine, law, technology, and more. The US Postal Service always has a lot of job openings. They provide numerous job opportunities for those looking to build a long-term career.
While the general assumption is that postal employees only sort or deliver mail, the fact is the US Postal Service offers opportunities in a variety of areas from administrative, human resources, and accounting to marketing, real estate, and architecture. There are an amazing number of job opportunities with the FBI.
The FBI seeks employees for both professional staff and special agent positions. Professional staff openings are available in roles such as linguistics, applied science, intelligence analysis, and business management.
For special agent positions, you may work on cases involving cyber crime, terrorism, extortion, drug-trafficking, kidnapping, and more. They even have jobs for college students. The Social Security Administration has branches in almost every decent sized city in the country. Jobs in the social security administration, especially in smaller towns, are good jobs. He had a very good job. The Social Security Administration has jobs for students and others in areas like information technology, legal, law enforcement, and more.
Opportunities are available in engineering, mathematics, cryptanalysis, computer science, intelligence analysis, and more for students, professionals, and transitioning military, alike. One very interesting and specialized site is called FedsHireVets. If you have done military service, this is a great site for you. The Secret Service is tasked with two primary objectives. The first is protecting the President, former presidents, and other high-ranking officials.
Note: This form is meant for applicants interested in serving in a political appointment in the Biden-Harris administration.
For career opportunities, please visit www. Thank you for your interest. We invite all interested and qualified candidates to apply for employment opportunities.
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