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MANAGEMENT UPDATE.

REINVIGORATING PUBLIC SERVICE

Modernizing and reinvigorating public service was the topic for the May 6 Management Matters podcast, produced by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA). The guest, interviewed by NAPA president Teresa Gerton, was Sara Mogulescu, the president of the Volcker Alliance, which has numerous initiatives tied to that theme. As Mogulescu explained early in the podcast, her talks with Paul Volcker, who started the alliance in 2013, dramatically demonstrated his passion for the topic. 


“I had time to spend with Mr. Volcker before he passed at the end of 2019 and to understand what he wanted for the organization and what motivated his thinking. It wasn’t about financial regulation and all the things that he was best known for. It was about public service and how a prepared, talented diverse public service is one of the essential pillars of democracy.”



Creating such a workforce isn’t the easiest thing to accomplish.  “It’s hard for government to make a compelling case.” Mogalulesu said in the podcast. “Everybody knows what NASA is. We know it would be great to work for NASA and go to the moon, go to Mars, but it’s very hard to understand what government jobs are – to translate the opportunity to an experience that is compelling. That’s a challenge for the government to do, particularly when it’s fragmented.”


Below are excerpts from the podcast, edited for length. (Truth in advertising: We at Barrett and Greene, Inc. are special project consultants to the Volcker Alliance.)  


The Need for More Government Cooperation in Recruitment 


  • “You’d think there’d be an incentive to collaborate with government recruiters working together and there’s some beginnings of that in different places. (But often) they’re competing with one another. They’re not only competing with Google and Deloitte. One probation office is competing with the probation office thirty miles down the road. So, the incentives to collaborate are not there.”


  • “We see an appetite for collaboration. I think people know that we cannot go as far when we’re working independently and competitively as we can when we collaborate. I think we’re also seeing an appreciation of the urgency of the issues we’ve been discussing.”


Tools to Expand Interest in Public Service


  • “Internships are just extraordinarily valuable and we know that internships help drive career trajectories in a very positive way when they’re available. They’re not always available in government and if they are available, they’re often unpaid. . . The connections that you make (help you) understand what a job is, (with) professionals who mentor you and are there to help you to think about professional development.”


  • “We have been hosting virtual job fairs with some partners in the federal government and with some partners in the state government. What’s nice about virtual job fairs is you get over the issue of how am I going to get to all of these campuses and you have an opportunity to provide programming. (Job seekers have) opportunities to talk to people in the role about what they do and what they’re looking for on their team. The human element of this is so important.”


The Future


  • “These are long-range issues that we’re talking about – public sector workforce development. It’s a long play and it’s an important one. Given the talent crisis and given the questioning that we see all around us about governmental institutions at all levels, urgency is becoming apparent to more people. While that doesn’t sound like progress, in some ways it is. Because we’re starting to get more people into the conversation. And recognizing that public service is a key ingredient of democracy. To me that’s progress.”


Volcker Alliance Public Service Initiatives


  • The Dean Summit. “We have a big bucket of work around public service education, and the anchor of that work is an initiative called the Dean’s Summit, which is a collaborative of the leaders, deans, and directors of Schools of Public Service around the country. Our Dean Summit is now more than 70 deans and directors and they come together not for the purpose of competing with one another, which is often their posture – competing for resources; for students; for ranking; for all of it. But rather to think about how to elevate the impact of the field. That is a place where we find a lot of very constructive work.”


  • The Next Generation Service Corps. “This is a network of programs that we’ve helped universities start that engage undergraduates in public sector problem solving and collaborative leadership skills. We have now more than 20 schools and they are pulling students from all majors – not just policy students, not just history students, students of all majors to participate in a learning experience that exposes you to public service values that help you solve problems together and that builds leadership skills that we think are specific to work in government and we’re very excited about that. There are more and more students doing these programs every semester.”


  • The Safety and Justice Challenge Future Leaders Network. “We’re starting a new initiative that’s really about a leadership pipeline in the criminal justice space in partnership with the MacArthur Foundation. We’re working to build future leadership development programs that encourage underrepresented candidates and existing public servants to pursue leadership roles across the criminal justice system. These are typically state and local roles and will be rolling out in 2024 and 2025.”


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MANAGEMENT UPDATE ARCHIVES.

UNCOVERING STUDIES IN THE NEWS

THE ACADEMIC GOVERNMENT COMMUNICATIONS GAP

USING GENERATIVE AI FOR PUBLIC SAFETY

ADVOCATING FOR CITY MANAGERS: A NEW ORGANIZATION

PEWS FISCAL 50 HAS BEEN SUPERCHARGED

EQUALIZING THE PROCUREMENT PLAYING FIELD

HEAT KILLS SHOULDNT WE PAY MORE ATTENTION

REINVIGORATING PUBLIC SERVICE

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