Nonprofit wins grant to offer federal management training

A nonprofit group dedicated to encouraging young people to join the federal workforce received a grant Thursday to finance two new initiatives aimed at improving federal leadership and educating young people about public service.

Under a four-year $4 million grant from The Annenberg Foundation, the Partnership for Public Service will create the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Federal Leadership Institute and the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Public Service Speakers Bureau. The group plans to launch both initiatives later this year.

The leadership institute is designed to help mid-level managers in government build better management skills and improve the performance and effectiveness of their agencies.

The speakers bureau will enlist distinguished representatives to visit college campuses and other venues to educate young people about careers in public service and help them navigate the federal employment system.

"With this significant grant, the Annenberg Foundation has made an important statement that the issue of government performance and the health of our civil service is vital to our nation's strength and deserves the attention of America's philanthropic community," said Max Stier, president and chief executive officer of the Partnership.

The initiatives aim to address what research has identified as two of the greatest challenges to government effectiveness -- inadequate leadership skills and a lack of knowledge about federal job opportunities among young people. This research includes the Partnership's annual "Best Places to Work in the Federal Government" rankings. Federal workers are twice as likely as those in the private sector to report that their supervisors do not have the leadership and management skills necessary to perform their jobs effectively, the Partnership found.

Recent Partnership polling also found that only 13 percent of college juniors and seniors were extremely knowledgeable about job opportunities in the federal government.

The Annenberg grant marks the largest contribution the Partnership has received from a foundation. The private foundation seeks to improve public well-being through improved communication, specifically through the use of technology and education.

Walter Annenberg served as an ambassador to England, and Leonore Annenberg is a former chief of protocol of the United States. "Both regarded their government service as an important opportunity to honor their country and contribute to its prosperity," said Gail Levin, executive director of the foundation. "With these grants, the Annenberg Foundation seeks to educate and inspire the next generation of public servants."

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