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Terry Gerton, President & CEO of NAPA and Bill Valdez, president of the Senior Executives Association detail a list of grand challenges facing public administrators, and why they must be tackled soon.

Public sector leadership faces twelve “grand challenges” in the coming years, according to a report by the National Academy of Public Administration. Terry Gerton, president & CEO of NAPA, says that items on this list might not be what one would expect, including climate change and the growing use of AI.

“Making government AI-ready is everything from training the workforce to be able to manage the technology that’s coming, but also to build a workforce that can be ahead of the AI wave so that our regulations are proactive. That we’re thinking in advance, integrating and we’re anticipating challenges that AI brings as opposed to reacting,” Gerton said.

Bill Valdez, president of the Senior Executives Association, says that it’s important to pivot government employees towards working as part of the whole enterprise.

“The grand challenges are refocusing for people. It sort of reminds me of the story of JFK when he went to NASA. He asked the janitor, ‘what do you do here?’ He says, ‘I help put a man on the moon.’” Valdez said. “That’s what this is about. It’s refocusing for employees to say ‘I’m part of a larger thing. Part of a larger give back to the American taxpayer.”

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