US CTO Switches Gears to Recruit in Silicon Valley

Todd Park

There’s a new recruiter coming to Silicon Valley. Federal Chief Technology Officer Todd Park is leaving Washington, D.C., for the left coast, where he will be part of a White House team focused on recruiting tech pros for the government.

Park became a political target for his role in trying to fix the glitch-ridden Healthcare.gov website. He’s had his successes, though, including helping President Obama lure Google engineer Mikey Dickerson—who worked on the tech aspects of Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and was brought in to help fix Healthcare.gov—to stay in D.C. and fix other tech problems in federal government.

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Park hasn’t been shy about looking to the private sector to fix government. In announcing the Presidential Innovations Fellows program, he declared he wanted “the baddest of the badasses out there” to bring innovation inside the Beltway.

When it comes to technical recruiting, the feds surely need help. A report by Washington-based Freedman Consulting sounded the alarm over government’s difficulty in luring tech workers, concluding, “existing institutions and approaches are insufficient to build and sustain this pipeline, particularly in the face of sharp for-profit competition.”

Government knows it has a cultural mismatch and will have to adjust to lure young tech pros to replace a wave of expected retirements. The question is whether it will be able to. As Deloitte’s third annual survey of nearly 7,800 Millennials concluded: “Millennials want to leave their mark on the world by working for organizations that benefit society, encourage innovation and provide them the opportunity to expand their skills.” That sounds encouraging. But, it continued: “More than previous generations, they are ready to work independently if their needs are not being met by a traditional organization.”

Whether the government can meet their employment needs remains to be seen.

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Image: CNN