Government STEM Hire

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STEM Talent Acquisition: Case studies Part 1

Two government organizations that implement STEM talent acquisition strategies/programs are NASA and city of Boston's Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT).


  • NASA focuses their hiring strategy on the future. Sixty percent of their hires are candidates who recently graduated from college.
  • This is done to attract creativity, innovation, as well as the latest technologies.
  • The next 20% are known as “forward fills”. They are hired to fill the expertise required by NASA to support their journey to Mars within the next ten or more years.
  • The remaining 20% of their hiring is reserved for "critical skill losses and replacements".
  • NASA's officials analyze social media data, reports of Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and also organize employee focus groups in order to learn insights regarding what made the organization a great place to work.
  • These efforts led to an employer value proposition woven into new recruitment materials that highlights positive work experiences of their employees and exciting future opportunities.
  • NASA also drives STEM education innovation. They implement education programs by increasing access and interest in STEM education fields which has contributed to creating a capable NASA workforce.
  • NASA's talent acquisition strategies and programs has resulted in being continuously ranked among the "top five best places to work in Government".
  • They have attracted tough adventurers and excellent explorers with a "passion to explore the unknown for the benefit of humanity".
  • A Universum study also ranked NASA as the "most attractive employer for engineering students".

City of Boston's Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT)

  • The challenge of hiring the right STEM talent is magnified for the city of Boston because they are located in the “Silicon Valley of the East” where they face tough competition from reputable STEM organizations.
  • In order to tackle this challenge, the Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) adopted the strategy of engaging a specialized, technical talent acquisition manager.
  • They did this because they do not just want to recruit brilliant people from top universities, cities, or the private sector.
  • They needed to vet candidates for "specific technical knowledge and competency" with their applications and architecture.
  • They wanted to ensure that candidates are not only ready to work in their current technological environment, but also possess the skills required to develop the "data and digital infrastructure of the future".
  • This talent acquisition strategy resulted in an improved vetting process of new candidates which ensured that their hiring managers who conduct further interview rounds would meet with the "top of the talent pool".
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STEM Talent Acquisition: Case studies Part 2

Two government organizations that implement STEM talent acquisition strategies/programs are the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Personnel Management.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Office of Personnel Management (OPM)

  • The OPM is another government agency that is committed to developing a strong talent pool and enhancing institutional knowledge in the "STEM field of Information Technology and Cybersecurity".
  • In order to help close their identified skills gap in cybersecurity, OPM created and sustained relationships with higher education and academia to focus on attracting top talent for their entry-level positions.
  • The Master of Science in Information Security Operations was introduced in 2016 to offer a 50% discounted rate with a faster schedule to enable federal employees to obtain further knowledge on the critical subject of cybersecurity.
  • This opportunity was crucial to building "individual knowledge and the growth and development of federal employees, while shoring up the gaps in institutional knowledge".
  • The above strategy and program has resulted in developing competent talent for the OPM and other federal agencies in the field of cybersecurity.