Skip to content
Subscribe Donate

Building Tech Talent for the Public Sector

July 28, 2023

At a Glance

As the necessity and demand for technology to provide essential services to citizens across federal, state, and local agencies grows, an IT career in the public sector has never looked better.

Eric Flores, Senior Manager
Cheneyere Williamson Associate Director
Practices & Centers

An IT career in the public sector is filled with possibilities; it is an opportunity to use technology for good and be on the front lines of real-world impact. Traditionally, when jobseekers search for openings that require IT skills, they look to big technology companies first. However, with current staffing reductions, hiring freezes, and corporate restructuring in the private sector, exploring government IT roles has become much more appealing to tech talent. The public sector is also projected to experience steady and consistent employment growth over the next 10 years, with positions available in a variety of IT job categories, including user support and software development as well as cybersecurity.

Source: Public Sector: Digital Jobs Spotlight

With support from Google, Jobs for the Future (JFF) has partnered with public sector agencies and local workforce development boards to explore planning and implementation strategies for building public sector talent pipelines to meet today’s technology demands. Read on to learn more about how each region is championing this work and their unique approaches.

Public Sector Planning Grant

As part of the Public Sector Digital Jobs Innovation Project launched in 2022, JFF selected three public sector agencies to develop a viable digital jobs strategy. Each grantee’s work is unique to their region. In Oklahoma, the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) is exploring how to integrate industry-recognized digital job credentials for target populations into high-demand public sector jobs, with a priority focus on recruiting populations typically underrepresented in the IT sector. In Hampton Roads, Virginia, the Hampton Roads Workforce Council is working to identify labor challenges that affect the region’s public sector and is mapping out existing pathways to these IT-related employment opportunities. Lastly, in North Carolina, the Office of the Governor is establishing a strategy to launch a statewide apprenticeship program to support public sector IT jobs that will partner with a network of public sector agencies in North Carolina and include positions in all 100 counties of the state.

Listen to the audio clips below to hear directly from each grantee about the benefits of a career in the public sector and why increasing opportunities for IT talent in this sector is essential in building the workforce of the future.

Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services

Hear from Anish Peringol, assistant director, administrative services, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, and Brandon Bussell, grant manager at the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services.

Hampton Roads Workforce Council

Hear from Whitney Lester, senior director of talent development at Hampton Roads Workforce Council.

North Carolina Office of Governor Roy Cooper

Hear from Andrea DeSantis, policy advisor in the Office of Governor Roy Cooper.

Workforce Development Boards Digital Skills Pilot Initiative

In March 2023, JFF selected four leading workforce development boards to receive capacity funding to design and launch a pilot initiative implementing either the IBM SkillsBuild learning platform or both IBM SkillsBuild and the Google Career Certificates for a period of approximately 15 months.

The workforce development boards selected are San Diego Workforce Partnership; Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas in Wichita, Kansas; Workforce Solutions Capital Area in Austin, Texas; and WorkSource East Central Georgia, which serves Augusta, Georgia, and the surrounding region.

Working closely with JFF, each board focused on designing its pilot programs and considering recruitment strategies, community and employer partners, supportive services, key performance indicators, and data-collection methods.

Listen to the audio clips below to hear directly from the voices leading this work, why this work is so important right now, and the impact opportunities like this have on residents and their communities.

San Diego Workforce Partnership

Hear from Adrienne Chuck, manager of workforce development at San Diego Workforce Partnership.

WorkSource East Central Georgia

Hear from La Tunya Goodwin, executive director at WorkSource East Central Georgia.

Answering the Call to Build Long-Term IT Careers

Clearly, there is no shortage of opportunities for tech talent in the public sector. Government agencies and recruitment teams are eager to broaden their candidate pools and recruit talented individuals from diverse backgrounds for a career in public service and are creating innovative strategies to expand the pipeline for tech jobs in their regions. However, ensuring tech talent is available in each of these regions is critical to meeting this need. Government agencies and workforce boards are answering the call for this demand by removing barriers and designing high-quality programs and scalable digital job strategies that make certain local residents, especially those traditionally underrepresented in the IT sector, can learn the skills needed to build a long-term IT career.

Stay Tuned!

JFF is excited to share the progress of the Public Sector Digital Jobs Innovation Project and will publish insights and lessons as the work develops in this area. If you are interested in following JFF’s work, please connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook or subscribe to our mailing list to find out about opportunities to learn, collaborate, and invest. Learn more about JFF’s other work across the digital jobs ecosystem.