Agencies get another tool for recruiting and hiring student interns, OPM says

Thanks to the Office of Personnel Management, federal agencies will have new tools and resources to help in the recruitment process of student interns. They will be able to use strategic skills to reel in students to specific temporary positions. In a final rule, which focused on hiring authority for post- secondary students, the Office of Personnel Management made it known that eligible students will be those pursuing a bachelors or graduate degree.

The temporary positions for these students will vary from one to four years depending on the term appointment. While the students are in school, they will have to work in General Schedule 11 level or lower. Those who have obtained their degree and fit the criteria of the further eligible requirements (like working a minimum of 640 hours during their employment), will be allowed to be appointed to a permanent position.

President Biden and his administration shared that there has been a struggle in hiring entry-level, young individuals under the age of 30, then that of 10 years ago. In essence, this new authority will give those in academic programs the opportunity and ability to get paid while at school, and while contributing to agencies with the skills they bring into the “work world.” Without the use of normal procedures in seeking employees, agencies can use different methods to recruit diverse and qualified students. For example, use program advertisements on their websites, and/or use third party platforms, essentially creating flexibility in who and how they identify and recruit applicants. With this new authority, vacancies in job positions, retirements, and budget cuts no longer pose a hindrance to federal agencies.

By: D’Andrea Tucker

Source: Agencies get another tool for recruiting and hiring student interns, OPM says | Federal News Network

NSA wants you to be careful where you log in to telework

The National Security Agency (NSA) urges you to be more mindful and careful of logging in to telework at public places (like your local Starbucks or coffee shop for example). As teleworking becomes more common, NSA believes that federal employees and contractors should prioritize securing their data when in public as public Wifi networks are oftentimes unsecured and active Bluetooth signals can give access to private information on your devices.

As the United States faces cyber threats, The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has launched a public-private partnership to develop and combat defense strategies and incident response plans to ransomware and threats. In an effort to strengthen the cyber workforce, training has been provided by CISA with certification prep courses and resources to help federal employees strengthen and tighten their cybersecurity skills.

A bill has been formulated and specifies that the crash course training should include the ethical practices, the security risks and a thorough understanding of what the AI technology poses. The bill is being sent to the Senate floor to be voted on.

By: D’Andrea Tucker



The Story of How One Small Firm is Clinging to its Chances of Being Selected for NITAAC’s CIO-SP4 program.

On July 19, the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) IT Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC) issued an addendum to the CIO-SP4 contract. TCX (Technology Company X) has operated in the federal market for over 30 years and intends to bid on the contract. Because the actual firm is still intending to bid and doesn’t want to jeopardize its connection with NITAAC, it agreed to tell its tale on the condition of anonymity.

TCX, a small contractor in the, says changes to its self-scoring system have hurt its chances of making it into the second round of NITAAC. Pat said TCX pulled two large businesses onto their team of small firms to help increase its total points. “It’s unclear where the cut is, so you’d be stupid not to compose your team of large and small contractors to maximize your points,” Pat stated.

The Small Business Administration’s CIO-SP4 procurement is assisted by TCX, a small-business teaming organization. Pat, of TCX, stated they need to locate new colleagues in the little period of time they have until bids are due, which NITAAC has given them. The

changes also have an impact on their relationships with major companies, as they must now ask them to leave their CIO SP4 team. Pat stated that the proposal expenses and staff hours spent on this procurement were more than $50B.

Pluribus Digital has filed a second bid complaint regarding the agency’s decision to include only small company experience in its CIO-SP4 contract. Amendment seven, according to the business, alters the method NITAAC’s 14-day response is used to determine whether or not offerors can revise their recommended teams. Two additional companies have filed protests with the GAO over the same issue.

“It’s driving small businesses to ‘no-bid’ since they can’t reorganize into joint ventures with giant corporations.” NITAAC’s haphazard, last-minute adjustment is costing businesses millions of dollars at a time when everyone is strapped for cash. Former General Services Administration acting administrator and IRS executive believes the agency should be debating reforms.

The Professional Services Council is calling on NITAAC to go back to the drawing board on CIO-SP4 procurement. “The latest amendment has frustrated many companies of all sizes,” said Stephanie Kostro, PSC’s executive vice president for policy. Pat McCall, managing partner of Koprince Law, said he has rarely, possibly never, seen a procurement run so poorly. He said when an agency runs a procurement this significant, the most important facet is transparency and consistency.

Author: Mariatu Alale

Edited By: Nakira Whitehead