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By Investing in People, We Invest in America

March 11, 2024

By Jason Miller, OMB Deputy Director for Management and Kiran Ahuja, OPM Director

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As leaders in the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to strengthen and empower the Federal workforce, we see firsthand the myriad ways in which public servants are the Government’s most important asset. We are proud to have a Federal workforce that looks like America where qualified people from every background and walk of life have an equal opportunity to serve our Nation. Government could not effectively deliver without the 4 million Federal public servants, including 2.2 million civilian employees, who work to ensure Americans’ security, health, well-being, and opportunity.

With the release of the President’s FY 2025 Budget, we are proud to sustain and expand the critical investments to attract, develop, support, and retain talented Federal civil servants that have been a hallmark of this Administration. These investments are bringing a new level of strategic focus and visibility to the workforce, and reinforce the Administration’s commitment to protecting, empowering, and rebuilding it.

Federal workforce investments and policies outlined in this year’s Budget include:

  • Proposals that reaffirm a commitment to a non-partisan, merit-based Federal workforce.
  • Further expanding agency hiring capacity through “Talent Teams,” a successful model of strategically focused experts collaborating to implement cross-agency recruitment and hiring efforts.
  • Engaging the HR workforce as a strategic asset by investing in agency human capital functions as well as central resources to enhance the technical acumen and strategic vision of the HR workforce.
  • Broadening the Government’s internship programs and career talent pathways through regulatory changes, applicant-centered recruitment and outreach strategies, and use of the latest technologies.
  • Supporting a suite of workforce data tools and dashboards to equip Agency leaders with timely insights around expediting hiring, addressing attrition, and improving employee engagement levels while also advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) objectives.
  • Driving an Artificial Intelligence, Cyber, and Tech Hiring Surge, an initiative, launched in 2024, to quickly scale up capacity in emerging and critical talent needs.
  • Further investing in Federal Executive Board reforms, to support a critical forum connecting Federal agencies with regional partners across the country.
  • Improving applicant, hiring manager, and HR professional user experience by enhancing the USAJOBS Agency Talent Portal to better connect agencies with qualified candidates and leverage machine-learning to identify jobs relevant to individual jobseekers.
  • Moving towards a digital-first experience for Federal employees, annuitants, and their families by continuing to invest in modernizing OPM’s digital ecosystem that includes hiring, health care and benefits, workforce policy, data insights, the retirement process, and more.
  • Improving the resilience of the Federal workforce and protecting the delivery of public services by prudently managing taxpayer resources to consider the risk of future climate change and disaster impacts when upgrading existing, or constructing new, Federal facilities.

Taken together, these investments constitute a set of leading practices for identifying and meeting Government’s most pressing workforce needs and positioning us as a model employer. Coupled with the President’s Management Agenda (PMA), the President’s Budget is helping to embed these practices into agency operations, especially the following:

Growing a Culture of Workforce Data

Through investments under the PMA, OPM and the General Services Administration are marshaling agencies’ workforce data to build a growing suite of data tools and dashboards that empower HR practitioners, front-line managers, and senior leaders. These dashboards are providing leaders and managers a new depth of insight as they plan for and manage their current and future workforces to improve outcomes for Americans and ensure the workforce is efficient, resilient, and effective.

Expanding On-ramps into Early Career Talent

The Budget provides investments to help agencies enhance their internship programs and increase access for early career jobseekers. OPM will soon release updates to the Pathways Program, which provides onramps to Federal service, making it easier for agencies to access early career jobseekers and incorporate additional, more straightforward recruitment and hiring processes for interns, recent graduates, and Presidential Management Fellows to be hired permanently. Building on the successful launch of an internship portal to improve applicant experience, in 2024 OPM will launch a new USAJOBS Career Explorer tool so jobseekers can visualize potential roles and opportunities for themselves in Federal public service.

The Budget also invests in new paths into public service through Federal adoption of the proven Registered Apprenticeships model, leveraging lessons from programs like the Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Program for Veterans, which is meeting acute talent needs at the Department of Veterans Affairs while simultaneously building economic opportunities for veterans. Expanding Federal apprenticeships beyond their traditional application in the skilled trades is a unique opportunity for the Government to grow its own skilled talent and support a critical nationwide skills development initiative.

Driving Capacity Surges to Advance Top Priorities

Over the last two years, the Administration coordinated among seven departments and agencies to pursue a hiring surge for more than 90 key occupations needed to implement the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). The Federal Government hired 3,000 BIL targeted positions in fiscal year 2022, exceeded its fiscal year 2023 goal with over 3,400 selections, and continues to hire hundreds of professionals to drive a once-in-a-generation rebuilding of America’s infrastructure.

Building on this experience, the Administration has launched an AI, Cyber, and Tech Hiring Surge, combining efforts from the National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy and the President’s Executive Order on “Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development of the Use of Artificial Intelligence.” Leveraging our workforce data and insights to identify common talent needs, we are launching new cross-agency, pooled hiring actions for in-demand technology roles, as well as technology-enabling and support roles, so a single application can be considered by many agency employers and save time and cost.

The Budget also invests further in the U.S. Digital Service, U.S. Digital Corps, and Presidential Innovation Fellows program, and is providing agencies streamlined authorities, such as direct hiring, to compete more effectively for in-demand talent, including for the cyber workforce.

Ensuring Competitive Compensation

The Budget includes a pay adjustment of 2.0 percent, building on significant increases in 2022, 2023 and 2024 while accounting for the fiscal constraints Federal agencies face in FY 2025. The Administration continues to prioritize Federal compensation and also looks forward to working with Congress to address long-standing issues of pay compression which impact employees at various levels throughout the Government. By continuing to pursue structural improvements and use of flexibilities, we will enhance the competitiveness of the Federal pay system.

Lessons for the Future

By designating the workforce as the number one priority of the PMA, the Biden-Harris Administration has surfaced new priorities for focused engagement that will help us build the workforce of the future and serve Americans.

Especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, workplaces across the economy are experiencing profound shifts in how work is defined and completed. To ensure the Government is on the leading edge, OPM will work with agencies to review whether our formal classification of positions enables us to nimbly and strategically recruit and hire talent with skills needed for the jobs of the future. The experience of the PMA shows that agencies must work collaboratively to update position descriptions, skills frameworks, and assessments for the greatest impact at the lowest cost.

To ensure that practices aimed at key segments of the workforce, like technology roles, become widespread and self-reinforcing, every agency needs capacity to bring on board the talent needed to serve Americans. Building on our investments in talent teams, the Budget also elevates the HR workforce. HR professionals must be equipped and empowered as true strategic partners to drive workforce planning, recruitment, and hiring for any talent needed to meet an agency’s mission.

Strengthening the federal workforce—85 percent of which is located outside of the Washington, DC region— is truly an investment in all Americans’ well-being. We are grateful to millions of public servants for answering the President’s call to empower and rebuild the career workforce to better serve Americans, and we are excited to sustain that progress on the road ahead.

We invite you to follow along with us on Performance.gov

Updated quarterly with progress on agency and PMA priorities and strategies.