GAO recommends the creation of a federal digital service academy

Posted by Luke Fretwell · November 27, 2021

To help the federal government address challenges in technical hiring, managing and staff retention, the U.S. Government Accountability Office recommends the creation of a digital service academy.

The recommendations were published in a report, Digital Services: Considerations for a Federal Academy to Develop a Pipeline of Digital Staff, based on an October 2021 roundtable made up of “chief technology officers, chief data officers, chief information officers, and those in similar roles across the federal government, as well as knowledgeable representatives from academia and nonprofits.”

From the report:

This report summarizes the perspectives that selected technology leaders shared on (1) federal workforce needs for digital services staff, (2) key characteristics of a digital service academy, and (3) considerations to help ensure federal agencies can absorb graduates of a digital service academy.”

One potential method for developing digital services staff, discussed by the roundtable participants, is the creation of a digital service academy—similar to military academies—to train future civil servants in the digital skills needed to modernize government. Considerations for a digital service academy include the kinds of skills that would be taught and the composition and size of a graduating class, according to roundtable participants. Further, they said digital services staff would need proficiency in both digital skills as well understanding the functions of government to meet agencies’ needs.

Report: Digital Services: Considerations for a Federal Academy to Develop a Pipeline of Digital Staff

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