BUILDING UP THE FUTURE
Pentagon Seeks Future Information Technologists
By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2011 – The Army, Air Force and the office of the Defense Department’s chief information officer hosted 50 local high school students at the Pentagon today to begin recruiting the next generation of the federal government’s information technology work force.
We’re trying to get the high school students interested in information technology so we can establish a pipeline of students and future employees for the Defense Department and the federal government,” Joyce France, director of CIO management services for the DOD chief information officer, told reporters during the conference.
When they weren’t listening to cybersecurity or social media briefings, touring the DOD Network Monitoring Instruction Center or learning how to apply for federal jobs, the students were crowding around tables featuring literature and videos about the kind of information technology work that’s available within the Defense Department.
Defense Information Systems Agency representatives talked about cyber defense, simulation experts talked about computer crime and forensics, and officials from the Defense Technical Information Center talked about the DOD Technopedia.
“This is an opportunity to crack the door a little bit to give students a peek inside the Pentagon,” France said.
Sponsors included the Army, Air Force, Marines, the National Security Agency, Naval Sea Systems Command, the DOD Education Activity, and Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command headquarters.
DOD and the Federal CIO Council reach out to local high schools, where teachers recommend juniors and seniors who are achievers in information technology, math, science and engineering for the program.
The program began in 2007 with 39 students. By the end of the 2011 program, 200 students will have attended the sessions this year.
“We’ve beefed up our campaign to promote the program, and the federal effort has beefed up as well,” said Tina-Marie Buckman, the DOD information technology work force team lead. “We want them to understand that DOD is an employer of choice.
“There are plenty of opportunities,” she added. “It’s not just join DOD to join the military, it’s not just a desk job — it’s exciting, relevant and needed professions within the Department of Defense. We can be the employer of choice, and we want to be.”