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OPM Encouraging Time Off for STEM Activities; John Berry Comments

John Berry

The Office of Personnel Management will start allowing federal workers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related fields to take time off to volunteer in STEM-related activities outside of work.

In a letter to chief human capital officers, OPM Director John Berry wrote STEM is a functional area included in the agency’s skills gap closure initiative, part of the federal government’s cross agency priority goals.

OPM, the Office of Science Technology and Policy and the Chief Human Capital Officers Council are jointly working on a strategy to address STEM skill gaps in the federal workforce, Berry wrote.

In February, OPM announced an initiative calling on federal employees to support a Defense Department STEM program, where students receive information on federal careers and internships in STEM fields.

Agencies are directed to review how they can arrange alternative work schedules for STEM workers to perform volunteer service.

Annual leave, leave without pay, credit hours under flexible work schedules, compensatory time off and limited amount of excused absence are potential options for STEM workers, according to Berry.

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One comment

  1. Resource Area for Teaching (RAFT), http://www.raft.net, can provide valuable support for this important initiative – to close the STEM skills gap.

    RAFT has developed hands-on, STEM-based, activity kits that teach principles of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Federal employee volunteers can design their STEM lessons based on RAFT’s hands-on activity kits such as Static Merry-Go-Round (static charge); Leonardo’s Bridge (engineering); Area Antics (math); and Colors of Light (color spectrum). RAFT Hands-On Activity Kits can be seen at http://www.raftstore.net.

    Founded in 1994, RAFT is a nonprofit organization, that is headquarted in San Jose, California.

    RAFT transforms teaching through the use of engaging hands-on educational activities that inspire the joy and discovery of learning.

    Inquiries may be sent to Mark Judge at RAFT. (email: mark@raft.net)

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