In recent weeks, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) marked the first anniversary of the launch of the U.S. Digital Corps (USDC), a program that hires early-career technologists into federal service to create a more effective, equitable government.
Launched in August 2021 by GSA’s Technology Transformation Services with partners across the Biden-Harris Administration, including the White House Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy, USDC has shown early success.
Over 1,000 candidates applied to join the first cohort, and 38 Fellows were selected in June 2022. This cohort is now working at a dozen agencies across government on high-impact projects in areas including health, immigration, cybersecurity, and equity.
“From the Administration for Children and Families to the Department of State, we’re already hearing about how our first group is asking good questions and bringing new approaches to the table,” said GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan. “We look forward to getting applications for our second cohort this fall so we can bring on even more early-career technologists who want to help government deliver for the American people.”
As detailed in a recent Performance.gov blog post, USDC advances many goals outlined in the Biden-Harris President’s Management Agenda (PMA). These include commitments to investing in and diversifying the federal workforce, and improving the public’s customer experience with government.
“Within a year of its inaugural launch, the U.S. Digital Corps program has been an integral effort to recruit and retain the next generation of public servants,” said OPM Director Kiran Ahuja. “The program advances the President’s Management Agenda to create a more effective, equitable government and ensures our federal workforce is our government’s most valuable asset.”
In reviewing applications and selecting Fellows, GSA used the Subject Matter Expert Qualification Assessments (SME-QA) process to assess candidates, a new assessment method developed through a collaboration of the U.S. Digital Service (USDS), Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Personnel Management. This marked a move from credentials-based to a more equitable and effective skills-based hiring approach.
“U.S. Digital Service was proud to partner with the U.S. Digital Corps in using SME-QA to identify and hire diverse and highly qualified talent for their cohort of 2022 Fellows,” said USDS Administrator Mina Hsiang. “Civic tech is a team sport. We’re glad to see the rise in early-career talent dedicated to serving the public.”
With one year of experience under its belt, USDC is gearing up to recruit and hire a second cohort of Fellows to start in summer 2023. Applications for the second cohort of U.S. Digital Corps Fellows will open in October 2022. More information is available at digitalcorps.gsa.gov.