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OPM’s Jason Barke: Government Resources Can Help Federal Agencies Fill Workforce Skills Gaps

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Federal agencies should make use of new and existing government initiatives to remedy skills gaps in their workforce, said Jason Barke, deputy associate director for strategic workforce planning at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Barke told Federal News Network that OPM is working with other departments to address issues such as compensation, recruitment, understaffing and retention.

Existing financial incentives such as special pay rates and student loan repayment will help agencies keep their skilled talent and avoid losing them to private companies, Barke stated. He also noted that OPM is collaborating with a cybersecurity group on the feasibility of special pay rates.

To aid in the assessment of federal program and project managers, OPM established the Competency Exploration for Development and Readiness tool, which Barke thinks could be useful in recruiting HR specialists.

“As often as necessary, we provide feedback, we see where gaps are and we work closely with [agencies] to ensure that they have that infrastructure in there to be able to address those skills gaps. We think that we’re moving in the right direction, but there are always going to be opportunities to close skills gaps,” Barke commented.