Priority number one in the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) is to strengthen and empower the Federal workforce, said one of the prime movers of that effort today.


Pam Coleman, associate director for Performance & Personnel Management at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), highlighted OMB’s efforts to develop and deliver on the goals stated in the PMA at a May 24 event organized by the Alliance for Digital Innovation.


“Priority number one in the PMA to strengthen and empower the Federal workforce is intentional because the people in the Federal workspace are elemental to accomplishing our mission sets,” Coleman said. 


One strategy that Coleman highlighted is adopting a “skill-based” hiring approach to improve the Federal hiring process by bringing on the best talent. 


“We are in an ongoing effort to implement stronger assessments and hiring practices to identify qualified talent to meet that workforce priority in the PMA,” Coleman said. 


OMB last week issued guidance instructing agencies to expand skill-based hiring and decrease reliance on educational accomplishments and self-assessments to evaluate prospective employees. In releasing the guidance, OMB explained that considering the booming labor market, “the Federal government must position itself to compete with other sectors for top talent” and thus a skills-based approach to hiring advances that objective.


Coleman added that the approach also provides a good applicant experience and encourages more people to apply for Federal jobs. 


Another metric to advance the workforce priority is to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) strategies and practices across all human capital activities, she said.


“We want to attract and hire the most qualified employees, who reflect the diversity of our country, in the right roles across the Federal government,” Coleman said. 


To promote DEIA, Coleman added, agencies will efficiently and inclusively attract and hire quality candidates and reduce any systemic barriers by improving the hiring process for all applicants, hiring managers, and human resources specialists.


Additionally, agencies will build equitable pathways into the Federal government for early career positions, particularly from underrepresented and underserved communities.


Coleman highlighted that empowering the workforce marks a clear message from the administration to make the Federal government a model employer. 


“The President has been clear that he wants the Federal government to be the model of a good employer,” Coleman said. “Our overall goal is to make every Federal job a good job, where all employees are engaged, supported, heard, and empowered, with opportunities to learn, grow, join a union and have an effective voice in their workplaces through their union, and thrive throughout their careers.”

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.