Margaret Weichert, acting director at the Office of Personnel and Management (OPM), addressed the challenges ahead for the Federal workforce and emphasized the need for action in the near future, but promised that OPM would continue its current path after a series of leadership changes.

Weichert discussed an event in September that focused on the Federal workforce and included industry, academia, good government groups, and experts in human capital development.

“It validated a number of hypotheses that had been out there about, particularly around mobility, agility, and reskilling of the workforce in the 21st century,” said Weichert. “It validated that we’re not alone in government in having some of these challenges about skill gaps, or reskilling needs, and it also shared a lot of ways that the private sector and good government groups are working together to tackle major issues like reskilling.”

Weichert addressed the hesitation from many Federal employees at being replaced by new technologies.

“I think we need all of the communities that were represented at this event … to help us with that messaging. More than anything, I think we need the insights and the marketing chops from the private sector to help us learn how to do it,” Weichert added.

With Weichert’s appointment as acting director of OPM earlier this month, she discussed how she was handling the transition within the agency.

“One of the things I am keen to ensure is that we have a stability of purpose and of mission, and that we focus on the end game,” said Weichert.

“The workforce has faced a lot of change, a lot of change in leadership, a lack of political leadership in the past, and so understandably, our workforce is unsettled. That is a priority for me,” Weichert said. “One of the things I’ve tried to make absolutely clear, is that the workforce is part of the solution. The workforce is not our problem in government.”

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MeriTalk Staff