ArchiveNational Partnership for Reinventing Government
An Information Sheet for Federal Communicators, Managers, Workers, and Their Partners--Pass It On
What can you do to prepare yourself or your staff for a possible downsizing within your organization? What resources can you tap to help your agency's workforce develop job-hunting skills and strategies or coping skills for those left with the challenge of getting the job done well with fewer people and fewer dollars? How can you maintain productivity and improve customer service while you are letting people go? Help is on the way.
Agencies Must Provide Career Transition Services
Interim regs for the President's Sept. 12, 1995 directive on Career Transition go into effect on Feb. 29. The new program requires agencies to provide services such as resume preparation to their own employees affected by downsizing. They must also offer vacancies to their own surplus or displaced employees before hiring from outside the agency and must select displaced federal workers from other agencies before hiring candidates from outside government. Contact OPM's C.C. Christakos or Susan Shelton at (202) 606-0960.
Federal Executive Boards play an important role in the new program. Here's what's happening in two FEBs:
Portland (Oregon) Federal Executive Board will have an all-day program with exhibits in May, focusing on self-assessment, interviewing, networking, resume writing, and self-employment. "We're also going to market this seminar to our county and state partners," said FEB Executive Director Ron Johnson. "We're also concerned with helping agencies cope with doing more with fewer resources and staff. We want to help employees focus on setting priorities," he said. The event is the first in a series of ongoing services of the FEB Career Transition Committee. Contact Ron Johnson at (503) 326-2060.
New York FEB set up a downsizing task force to look at technology, hold classes on resume writing, and inventory "soft landing" aids to avoid duplication among member agencies. It will sponsor a comprehensive program on March 8 in partnership with the States of New York and New Jersey and the Dept. of Labor's Employment and Training Administration. "We're particularly interested in the services the States can provide, including coming on site to work with employees and adding federal job listings to their computerized listings," said FEB Director Susan Kossin. Contact her at (212) 264-1890.
Defense has recent experience in downsizing, partly because of the Base Realignment and Closure Act in 1990 after the end of the Cold War and partly because of reinventing government. Savings are substantial--$1.9 billion annually for the Navy alone. Some Defense organizations report remarkable achievements in keeping work going and dealing humanely with employees. The story that follows is one example.
Mare Island Naval Shipyard in California--set for closure on April 1, 1996--was able to go from 6,200 employees in March 1993 to about 1,600 now. It got to this point without a reduction-in-force while also completing its shipwork--which it did last April. Now the shipyard is concentrating on closure. About 1,000 of those remaining will be RIFed, but more than half of these are training for new careers.
The key was using quality leadership principles and involving everyone, including the unions. The shipyard continues to provide education and training, but with a changed focus. Now it provides training in environmental work through a partnership with the University of California and local colleges. Staff are cleaning up the shipyard prior to closure, work that is qualifying them for jobs in the environmental field.
Mare Island has set up a career resource center with career transitional services to prepare its remaining employees to adjust to work outside the shipyard. More than 1,500 have found federal jobs through the Priority Placement Program. For information, call TQL coordinator Valinda Gillis, at (707) 646-5965.
Pamela J. Kidder and Bobbie Ryan, who work for the Total Quality Leadership Office in the office of the Under Secretary of the Navy, wrote a two-part article, "How to Survive in a Downsizing World," that appeared in the Dec. 1995 and Jan.-Feb. 1996 issues of the Journal for Quality and Participation.
Based on interviews with executives from the public and private sectors, the first article discusses what's happening to the workplace in the 90's, new strategies for dealing with the changing work environment, and what skills and attitudes are needed to survive. The second has exercises on work values and long-term career planning. You can access the articles with a PC and modem. Dial the TQLO electronic bulletin board, (703) 602-9094.
Faith Williamson, Director of the Career Management Center at Health and Human Services in Washington, DC, came up with an innovative way to pay resume expert Kathryn Troutman to teach federal employees how to convert their old Standard Form 171s into new federal-style resumes. If their agencies didn't have the funds, participants could pay their own way to the 3-hour workshop.
Faith worked out the details in conjunction with the HHS Program Support Center Administrative Office. "About 20 percent of the 70 participants paid by personal checks made out to HHS," she said. The event was a huge success and Faith is planning another workshop on March 6. It's open to federal employees from other departments and personal payment options are available. Call Faith Williamson at (202) 205-9391.
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