Treasury devises an eight-part plan

Treasury devises an eight-part plan to boost its technology work force

By Shruti Dat'

GCN Staff

The Treasury Department's new information technology work force improvement implementation strategy aims to infuse the agency's work force with technological training and new talent.

The plan also will double the IT payroll to $20 million in 2001 to help along the eight-pronged strategy. Last year the payroll for the department was $9.3 million.

The Office of Personnel Management supports the initiative.

"We are dealing with our work force; we need to see some changes made within that personnel structure to support that," said W. Frederick Thompson, IT work force improvement program manager. About a year ago, the deputy assistant secretaries for human resources and information technology sent a letter to all the bureaus saying, 'We are working together, and we hope and expect that you work together as well.'

The Treasury IT office formulated the strategy through a departmentwide study last year, which reflected the technological capabilities and weaknesses of the entire work force, and the management abilities of IT decision-makers.

"We interviewed all the chief information officers in the different organizations and asked them what problems and challenges they were finding in recruiting, retaining and developing their work force," Thompson said.

Over the next two years, Treasury plans to roll out various programs and seminars to refine the IT management skills of its executives. During the first quarter of next year, Treasury will offer its employees the following IT training programs:

' IT 101 for non-IT executives. The Treasury Executive Institute program helps executives develop strategies and architectures that affect all agency missions. IRS Executive Development will be the pilot class in September and will be made available departmentwide in December.

' Distance-learning programs. Treasury will offer the IRS model, which uses satellite-based videoconferencing, throughout the department.

' Technology leadership management program. This program hones management skills.

' Interagency advanced management program. Treasury will participate in the Defense Department Information Resources Management CIO certificate program. Executives can choose among one-week sessions to fit their management and technical needs, and they gain an understanding of the 1996 Information Technology Management Reform Act requirements.

The department will provide evaluation of progress and future plans in annual reports.

IT for all

Treasury also wants to train rank-and-file employees in IT. Thompson said the department wants to educate employees to ask informed questions and make them better at their jobs.

"We are finding that every job is essentially an IT job here to some degree," Thompson said. "We haven't really done anything to train those people to use the technology. One thing we want to do is to communicate that we are committed to investing in them."

"Finding out about employment opportunities in the department involved extensive and dedicated efforts to search by trial and error," according to the IT improvement implementation strategy.

The new Treasury Internet employment link provides easy access to more information about job opportunities. The department will also expand the use of cooperative education and other school-to-work programs, tapping high schools and universities for IT talent for the fall of 2000.

Treasury will continue such initiatives through 2001, concentrating on intern programs, end-user information technology competency and new pilot programs, Thompson said.

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