Feds Must Start Preparing for Their Future Jobs, NSF CIO Says

Artram/Shutterstock.com

A new National Science Foundation app could help federal employees actively position themselves as part of the future workforce.

Federal employees could see their jobs radically changed by emerging technology in the coming years, and Dorothy Aronson worries agencies aren’t doing enough to prepare for this new reality.

As the National Science Foundation’s chief information officer, Aronson is responsible for helping the agency adopt the latest automation, artificial intelligence and analytics tools. As those technologies take over more internal operations, employees could find themselves displaced or expected to work more closely with tech than they do today, according to Aronson.

“People impacted by IT is a much broader group than the IT workforce,” she said in a conversation with Nextgov. “Maybe now we see ourselves as IT people or business people, security or HR, [but] a lot of that might get merged or changed in the future.”

The transformation is already underway, but in Aronson’s eyes, the government is largely ignoring the writing on the wall. While new tech could automate some federal jobs out of existence, it will also create a slew of new positions, and it’s high time agencies start thinking about how to fill them, she said.

“It’s our fear of that change that’s really holding us back … but our workforce does have to continue to move forward,” she said. And some of the onus falls on employees themselves.

On Nov. 9., NSF kicked off a competition to build a tool that provides future career advice based on people’s current skills and interests. The app would likely use artificial intelligence to both predict how the job market will change in the years ahead and match individuals to those future jobs, even if they don’t exist yet. Once someone is matched to a job, the app would also lay out the education and training they’d need to get there.

The apps developed through the competition will specifically focus on how NSF employees can map their futures, but Aronson said other agencies could ultimately adapt the tools to meet their own needs. While the app itself won’t remedy every workforce challenge the government faces, Aronson’s ultimate goal is to spark a conversation about how employees should prepare for their future.

And like it or not, she said, that preparation probably won’t have an end date.

As new technologies continuously enter the workplace, employees, especially in younger generations, will need to constantly adapt their careers and learn new skills to stay relevant on the job market, she said. The government must offer programs to reskill the workforce for the digital economy, but Aronson said it’s ultimately up to individuals to stay abreast of those changes.

And that’s where she sees the NSF app coming in handy: Because the tool continuously updates its job market predictions, it would provide real-time directions for how people should position themselves for the future.

Beyond providing individual career advice, Aronson said the tool could potentially inform agencies’ long-term workforce planning. Depending on the winning idea, the tool could give organizations granular data on each employee’s skills and talents, which could help them decide where to hire and how to invest in workforce development.

But according to Aronson, the goal at the moment is to get feds thinking about what they want to do next.

“My focus is on empowering the individual to create a better future for themselves, a happy, continuously evolving career,” she said.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.