OPM announces new direct hire authorities for STEM and IT

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OPM deputy director Michael Rigas joins the program to discuss the brand new hiring authorities for technical fields, and what’s happening at the agency after the recent leadership shakeup.


On Thursday afternoon, OPM announced that an interagency group at the office is developing a new pay classification system for the federal government, and announced new hiring authorities that agencies can use to build their growing technology workforce. The new authorities came after OPM talked with human capital officers across the government, who said that technical jobs were the hardest to fill by current means. The DHAs fall into two categories, STEM and IT. While the special IT authority covers positions that work to monitor and modernize federal technology, the STEM authorities cover a wide range of fields. Authorities include jobs for engineering, the economy, statistics, and the biological and physical sciences.  Michael Rigas, deputy director of the Office of Personnel Management, says that the new authorities could lead to other DHAs in different fields.

 

“As we put mission first for the federal government. The important thing that we need to realize is that the mission of agencies needs to come first and that we are here to serve the American people. As we see with these initial hiring flexibilities, what works, what doesn’t work, are there consequences as a result… we’ll be able to adjust and move forward for the next attempt to improve hiring in the federal government,” said Rigas.

 

There’s a temporary management shakeup at the Office of Personnel Management after Jeff Pon resigned as director last Friday. However, the office is still pushing forward with all of its existing plans. Rigas says that the new leadership has been keeping the OPM workforce informed of any changes in direction.

 

“The new acting director, Margaret Weichert, first thing in the morning on Tuesday addressed the senior executives at the agency. She has been making an effort now to get around and meet with all of the different business lines within the agency to let them know what we will be doing going forward,” Michael Rigas told Government Matters. “The mission remains the same. The agency has under gone changes in leadership in the past, so the folks who have been there are used to being able to deal with this kind of change and I’m confident they will continue to execute on the mission with excellence.”