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The Public Manager Magazine Article

Right Around the Corner: ATD Government Workforce

Published Mon Jul 11 2016


On September 7, 2016, the place to connect with government colleagues, learn best practices, find out how to get the most of your training dollar, and hear about cutting-edge issues affecting government personnel is the ATD Government Workforce conference.

Designed for chief learning officers and human capital officers, executives, government managers, and learning professionals and designers, Government Workforce: Learning Innovations Conference offers the opportunity to learn about challenges facing government workers and those who work with them.


The conference, which will be held at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C., is expected to bring together more than 300 learning professionals and subject matter experts to cover topics in these areas:

  • Leading Through Transition

  • The Workforce of the Future and the Changing Nature of Work

  • Talent Management

  • Best Practices: Getting Results.

Last year's attendees heard from Carolyn Colvin, acting commissioner of the Social Security Administration; John Koskinen, commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service; Beth Cobert, acting director of the Office of Personnel Management; and Carol Pope, chair of the Federal Labor Relations Authority.

In addition, Peter Bonner facilitated a dialogue around hiring and retaining a resilient workforce. Panelists emphasized the need for ongoing communication with employees; transparency, trust, and respect in the workplace; and leadership diversity, as well as workforce that mirrors the agency's customers. A resilient staff is needed, the speakers said, because the government is regularly faced with a barrage of criticism from the media, constantly asked to do more with less, expected to meet priorities of new administrations, and forced to address the transfer of knowledge associated with changing demographics of its personnel.

To the point of changing demographics, an engaged audience expressed frustration about succession planning being neglected until a person is leaving—well after the optimal point of addressing the issue. And while being detailed to another agency can help employees learn and increase their resiliency, it's difficult to do when a team is down two staffers, another audience member commented.

A second 2015 program, "Training Up: Lessons Learned From the Ready to Govern Orientation," found panelists discussing the relationship between political employees and career staff during transitions, how to brief incoming employees, making onboarding broader than a one-time event, and the benefits of job aids.


Attendees at this year's conference can expect similar high-level learning conversations. In addition to the outstanding line-up of speakers, exhibitors will be on hand to share their learning solutions with participants. Early bird registration for government employees is in effect through July 29 at a rate of $359; with group early bird rates available for $299. Be part of the conversation at the ATD Government Workforce conference.

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