OPM launches ad campaign to boost recruitment

The federal government Monday launched its first television campaign aimed at recruiting new workers into the civil service.

Linda Springer, director of the Office of Personnel Management, unveiled four advertisements to members of the press in Washington, D.C. The TV spots feature government workers on the job and direct viewers to USAJOBS.gov, OPM's centralized job search Web site.

Springer said the campaign is an effort to counteract the large number of federal retirements expected over the next 10 years -- a figure she put at 40 percent of the workforce.

"That's a fact," Springer said. "It's not a projection; it's not looking into a crystal ball or a Ouija board. We're not being overly dramatic here."

The ads will initially air in the Greenville, S.C., and Flint, Mich., areas, where Springer said there are large numbers of 20- to 24-year-old job seekers, many college graduates, high overall unemployment rates and low advertising costs.

The ads, produced in-house by government and military employees, cost $100,000 to create; OPM will spend $84,000 to run them in the two markets for two weeks. They will eventually spread across the country, Springer said.

Featured in the commercials are Elizabeth Mazzae, an engineer at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Maxine Brown, chief of the Systems Integration Branch at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Walter Douglas, a conservationist in the Agriculture Department; and Earl Stockdale, chief counsel for the Army Corps of Engineers.

"The four people, the stars, are typical," Springer said. "It's not fake. It's not phony. It's real."

She told reporters OPM is not setting a goal for the number of employees hired as a result of the campaign, or even the number of hits to the USAJOBS.gov Web site. She also said there is no focus on particular agencies that may need the infusion of employees more, in part because she encourages workers to move among agencies in the span of their government service.

"It isn't a numbers game," Springer said. "It's finding the right people."

The personnel agency ultimately will use other media, such as the Web, for the campaign, Springer said.

She added that her agency also is focusing on encouraging federal employees close to retirement to stay longer. She pointed to President Bush's proposal in the fiscal 2007 budget to eliminate a penalty for employees under the Civil Service Retirement System who move to part-time employment.

"When the time comes, great," Springer said. "But don't rush into it."

She said many employees plan to leave federal service when they retire and go to work for a government contractor, which will make competition for those jobs tough.

"The better thing to do is stay," she said.

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