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OPM Launches Website to Boost Federal Acquisition Workforce

Photo: Andrew Brown

The Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Federal Procurement Policy will launch a new collaborative website to help agencies looking to bolster their acquisition workforces.

The website and a host of other assessment tools are aimed at bolstering the shortage of qualified contracting officers, Federal News Radio reported. The number of procurement officials in recent years has remained stagnant even as procurement budgets have skyrocketed.

According to a memo from OFPP Administrator Dan Gordon, OPM will launch its online applicant assessment tool, which uses computer adaptive testing.

“Animated situational judgment assessments will present applicants with occupation-specific scenarios and ask them to respond,” the memo states. “Together, these tools will measure an applicant’s proficiency in a variety of general competencies, such as interpersonal skills, math, reading comprehension and logical reasoning.”

Gordon’s memo addressing the responsibilities agencies have in strengthening their acquisition workforces is only the latest in a string of issues surrounding the government procurement workforce.

In April, a Government Accountability Office report revealed that, with 55 percent of the current acquisition workforce slated to retire by 2018, the government could face a shortage of federal acquisition workers.

And, in 2009, the Office of Management and Budget announced a new three-pronged approach to strengthening the workforce through improved planning, training, developing and retention.

Along with the online assessment tool and the soon-to-be-launched third phase of USAJobs.gov, Gordon’s memo also pointed to the hiring authorities federal agencies already have.

“Agencies are authorized to fill critical resource gaps in 1102 series positions at entry and senior levels, 1105 positions and other members of the acquisition workforce, such as program managers, contracting officer’s technical representatives and any others with significant acquisition responsibilities,” the memo states.

But, Federal News Radio reports those authorities will expire at the end of the next fiscal year in September 2012.

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