While innovation continues to be the backbone for government mission success, there continues to be a shortage of IT talent. Last year, it was reported that 500,000 of the nation’s 5.5 million unfilled jobs are in IT, and filling this gap has become more and more challenging – especially in the federal arena.
This is why three enterprising Harvard University students have embarked on a program to create a summer tech and data science internship program, analogous to those offered by Silicon Valley.
According to a recent FCW article, the students have partnered with former U.S. deputy CTO and current Harvard adjunct lecturer Nick Sinai, as well as senior leadership at the Census Bureau, Internal Revenue Service and Department of Veterans Affairs, to launch the first-of-its-kind Civic Digital Fellowship.
“For summer internships, there isn’t much like that outside of a few scattered jobs,” stated one of the Harvard students in this recent blog post. “The best way to inspire the next generation of talented students to pursue careers in the federal government is through summer internships, and that on-ramp is missing.”
This concept of mirroring Silicon Valley in Washington, D.C. – especially when it comes to attracting and fostering talent – is theme that has been resonating in the government IT community for several years now.
“We are seeing an erosion of talent, where many of the bright next generation of technologists are leaving the defense and government IT arenas. Mostly because talented technologists feel that they are not being challenged, or they do not see the full scope of opportunities that lie ahead, or they are frustrated with the pace it takes for change to occur,” said AJ Clark from Thermopylae Sciences & Technology, in this 2015 Washington Technology article.
Although the program’s budget still needs to be finalized, the students expect Census, IRS and the VA to take interns from the program this summer.
For taking a proactive step to help foster and grow government IT talent, we are naming these three Harvard University students as this week’s GovTransformers. Stay tuned for our ongoing coverage of other federal executives and their agencies that are truly transforming how they support mission goals through the most effective use of IT.