These are exciting times for tech in the Federal government.
DJ Patil has joined the administration as the first ever US Chief Data Scientist, Megan Smith looking for more technologists to join the United States Digital Services, and the Presidential Innovation Fellowship program is recruiting for the next round of Fellows.
The excitement is both top-down and bottom-up.
There are exciting developments on the ground - percolating in the agencies.
At a roundtable hosted at the John Kennedy School of Government in Boston, Massachusetts, the participants spent over three hours discussing the current state of the skills economy, its current shortcomings and the actions required to make progress in the field.
The job postings of businesses, which want employees, identify the demand in the market. The resumes of job seekers represent the supply side, and the educational institutions that provide training facilitate mechanisms to meet the long-term system needs.
Unfortunately, there has been at least two decades of activity in the workforce/skills field that has yielded a fragmented mesh of uninteroperable and disconnected systems and portals.
To ensure that the American worker has a fighting chance in this (and the upcoming) century, there has to be several fundamental steps that must be taken; and be used as the bedrock of the industry.
The first step is defining a skill. The individual components of a skill or competency need to be defined and agreed upon.
The second step is articulating (and growing) the set of skill terms. This would enable a common language and reduce the possibility of a 'Tower of Babel' situation.
The final step is the creation of a platform that demonstrates the value of an open API (Application Programming Interface) over a set of skills data that covers all aspects of the skills triangle. This platform is a public-private partnership that leverages Federal and business stakeholders.