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PDRI’s Rose Mueller-Hanson quoted in Federal Computer Week
Census falls short on workforce management planning

September 20, 2012 - by Camille Tuutti

The Census Bureau risks facing serious skills gaps in its IT workforce unless officials take action to overhaul the agency’s human capital practices, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

In response to a congressional request to review Census Bureau’s policies and procedures related to IT investment management, system development, and human capital management, GAO officials conducted a performance audit from February 2012 through September 2012.

The findings, released Sept. 18, revealed the bureau has work to do with implementing its IT human capital practices. For example, the bureau lacks a wide-ranging IT workforce plan, which leaves directorates responsible for their own IT workforce planning. The bureau also has failed to identify gaps in mission-critical IT occupations, skills and competencies, or created strategies to address gaps.

Such fragmented approaches to workforce planning make it impossible for the bureau to truly develop a comprehensive strategy for acquiring the IT talent it needs, said Rose Mueller-Hanson, manager of leadership and organizational development consulting for PDRI. The lack of a consistent approach across the entire organization “will inevitably lead to duplication of some skills and gaps in others.”

“There is no opportunity to share resources across organizational boundaries and indeed no awareness across directorates of what resources might be available,” Mueller-Hanson said. “This approach is not only more expensive than a coordinated approach; it also reduces effectiveness.”

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