OPM offers details on tech worker exchange program

Exchange aimed at generating flow of expertise between the government and the private sector.

The Office of Personnel Management has published details on its Web site about a program allowing federal technology workers to temporarily trade spots with their private sector counterparts.

Authorized by the 2002 E-Government Act, the Information Technology Exchange Program is intended to help the government and the private sector share expertise by swapping top-performing employees. The program has been endorsed by the federal Chief Information Officers Council.

The section of the OPM Web site launched Monday provides an overview of the program, policy guidance and training information for agencies wishing to take part in the exchange.

The program is limited to government employees at or above the GS-11 level. Exchanges can last from three months to a year, with optional three-month extensions for up to another year. Agencies can approve only new trades or extensions with start dates prior to Dec. 17, 2007, when the program expires, and must submit semiannual reports on their activities to OPM.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for both federal and private sector IT employees to expand their breadth of experience through a program not previously available to them," said Nancy Kichak, OPM's associate director for strategic human resources policy. "The ITEP will also help private sector leaders have a greater understanding of how agencies and departments in the federal government manage IT related issues."

The personnel agency's page on the program links to the USAJOBS.gov recruitment site, which lists opportunities at nine agencies participating in the exchange, including OPM. The other eight agencies are: the departments of Commerce, Defense, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Justice, and Treasury; the FBI; and the Environmental Protection Agency. The informational page also links to the Web site of the American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council, which provides information on opportunities the program grants private sector workers.

Rules for the IT swap program were unveiled in August and became official on Sept. 14.