New hiring program helps to fill job vacancies amid BRAC retirements
Pamela S. Ludwig wasn't ready to retire after nearly 30 years with IBM and the Army needs experienced workers to replace current employees who will retire as a result of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) at Fort Monmouth. A new hiring program addresses both needs.

FORT MONMOUTH, N.J. -- Matching up experienced workers with organizations looking for such workers can sometimes be a hit-or-miss proposition. However, for Pamela S. Ludwig and the Software Engineering Center (SEC) at the CECOM LCMC, the stars were aligned by virtue of a program called Partnership for Public Service (PPS).

Before her job was outsourced to India, Ludwig spent 27 years with IBM, most recently at Endicott, N.Y. "I'm only 52 and have two kids in graduate school," Ludwig said. "Besides, I have a desire to keep on working. I really enjoy working and would like to be able to continue."

Ludwig has a master of science degree in computer science from the Watson School of Engineering, and a bachelor of science degree. Her years of experience encompass all areas of software development spanning multiple hardware and operating systems and computer software languages.

Last October, Ludwig joined the SEC at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), Md., in the Enterprise Solutions Directorate, Data Services Division. Her appointment was the result of CECOM LCMC's cooperative affiliation with PPS, a nonprofit organization devoted to the challenge of bringing private and public sectors together to develop solutions for matching experienced workers with the needs of the federal government.

The PPS mission is to explore new and expanded means for government to overcome institutional barriers and tap into the growing talent source of workers who must either retire or begin a new career due to corporate cut-backs and restructuring.

Research by PPS shows that while many employees may be eligible to retire, they still have a significant number of years of workplace interest. The research confirms that this segment of workers represents a source of key talent and vast experience that could become an intellectual asset to government agencies.

"Our ability to tap into Pam's expertise is helping us expand our knowledge base beyond a government-only focus," said Ludwig's supervisor, Judy Pinsky.

Fort Monmouth's status as an installation affected by the Base Realignment And Closure (BRAC) law-and its impact on retaining talent- is one of the reasons the DA invited CECOM LCMC to participate in the PPS "FedExperience Transitions to Government" pilot program.

"Another reason we were asked to participate is because of the command's reputation for progressive HR [human resource] initiatives and practices," said Debbie Devlin, CECOM LCMC G1.

The partnership's first client was IBM, and it has since expanded to include other companies and organizations undergoing workforce reductions. The partnership seeks out companies who have a corporate commitment to effectively transition workers to new jobs and careers.

"Ms. Ludwig's placement was an exciting 'first' for the Army," Devlin explained. "SEC was the first Army organization to extend a job offer, in this particular case to an experienced IBM employee whose industry background comparably relates to the rigorous job demands inherent in SEC systems, software and hardware programs.

"We look forward to more placements from this source because the candidates are exceptional and the potential benefit is tremendous," Devlin continued. "Army Team C4ISR [Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance] is in a great position to capitalize on private industry's workforce adjustments, and SEC leads the way because they are willing to broadly define their talent needs and take a few calculated risks to position themselves for the future."

PPS is also attracting a growing number of federal agencies, so the competition among federal agencies for those talented individuals is mounting as well.

"This shouldn't pose a problem for Army Team C4ISR, however, because of the current array of delegated and expedited hiring authorities and flexibilities in place to help us stay at the forefront of hiring trends," said Teresa Manganaro of the G1 Recruitment Team. "The G1 has been working for some time to build a robust inventory of qualified candidates who can be quickly appointed to positions at Aberdeen," said Manganaro.

The inventory includes resumes for applicants who can be appointed under authorities such as nationwide and Army-specific shortage occupations; high-quality full performance level professionals through the expedited hiring authority for acquisition positions; various veteran appointment authorities; student and intern programs; and a number of additional excepted and competitive service appointments.

Those authorities are all supplemental to the normal process of announcing positions via the Civilian Personnel On Line and USA Jobs websites. The G1 Recruitment Team, Army Team C4ISR managers and the servicing Civilian Personnel Advisory Center (CPAC) have forged a productive partnership to use an array of appointment authorities that fit C4ISR needs, said Devlin.

Ludwig's appointment is an example of the possibilities afforded by these innovative hiring methods and practices. She wasn't familiar with how to search for a federal job. However, when G1 staff members became aware of her resume through PPS, they swiftly contacted C4ISR organizations that might be interested in her credentials.

Knowing that an immediate job offer could be made, the SEC responded immediately. The hiring authority used to appoint Ludwig had the primary advantage of allowing management to deal directly with the candidate and provide valuable feedback, extending an immediate employment commitment without the typical prolonged announcement and referral process that commonly takes many months to conclude.

The referral and selection process, in this particular case, took only a couple of weeks. Because of the BRAC status, Army Team C4ISR organizations will experience increasingly higher attrition over the next two years as employees who are not relocating begin to take advantage of local employment opportunities or retire from federal service.

"Managers will need to stay ahead of potential staffing voids or talent drains by utilizing every hiring and recruitment tool available," Devlin said. The G1's goal is to preclude interruption of service as the mission transfers to APG, where thousands of vacancies are anticipated.

Page last updated Fri March 12th, 2010 at 14:41