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The White House Is Wooing Tech Workers to Do Tours of Duty in Government


White House officials said they have created guardrails to guarantee workers do not work on issues related to their employers.

White House officials have been meeting with technology giants including Amazon.com and IBM to try to persuade them to allow their employees to take leaves of absence in order to gain their help in modernizing state and federal agencies.

Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

White House officials have met with technology giants including Amazon.com and IBM to persuade them to allow their employees to take leaves of absence to help modernize state and federal agencies.

Said one official, "It's good for the country in the long term for technology professionals to have civil service in their career at some point."

However, attracting top tech talent remains a challenge for the federal government, with the Partnership for Public Service (PSP) estimating in September that fewer than 3% of full-time federal information technology professionals are younger than 30.

PSP’s Max Stier said, “You can certainly have people who are older who are technologically sophisticated, but the reality is, in the tech arena, that much of the innovation, and much of the awareness of what's possible, skews to a younger demographic.”

The possibility for conflicts of interest is a problem, as the government is one of the biggest customers of tech giants; to counter this, White House officials said they have created “guardrails” to guarantee workers do not work on issues related to their employers.

From The Washington Post
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