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    • New York State IT Workforce Skills Assessment Findings and Recommendations to Enhance Workforce Proficiencies Presented to the New York State Chief Information Officer by the New York State CIO Council’s Human Resources Committee December 2006
    • Table of Contents Executive Summary........................................................................................................................................1 ..................................................................................................................................................................................................1 Introduction.....................................................................................................................................................2 Description of need: getting the right person in the right job at the right time.........................................................................................................2 Developing a solution............................................................................................................................................................................................3 Course of action....................................................................................................................................................................................................3 Key survey findings........................................................................................................................................6 Workforce profile findings......................................................................................................................................................................................6 Current skill proficiencies and competency areas findings.....................................................................................................................................6 Training demand findings......................................................................................................................................................................................7 Three-year IT forecast findings..............................................................................................................................................................................8 Gap analysis findings............................................................................................................................................................................................8 Workforce development considerations................................................................................................................................................................9 ................................................................................................................................................................................................10 Addressing the Technology Skills Gap......................................................................................................11 Understanding skill gaps.....................................................................................................................................................................................11 Continuous assessment and training are required...............................................................................................................................................11 Priorities must be established..............................................................................................................................................................................12 CIO Council’s HR Committee Recommendations......................................................................................13 Committee recommendations..............................................................................................................................................................................16 1. Align IT training with the state IT architecture standards and agency missions. .................................................................16 2. Centralize the IT training curriculum within the Technology Academy and appoint an Advisory Board to direct the program to promote a cost effective and comprehensive approach to training the state’s IT workforce.....................................................17 3. Target enhanced training investments to address identified IT skill gaps. This funding should be centrally managed to ensure accountability in addressing state IT objectives and achievement of cost efficiencies. ...........................................................18 4. Encourage IT employees and their managers to assume more responsibility for employee development. ..........................21 5. Identify training strategies and partnerships that ensure cost-effective means for developing IT skills. .............................21 6. Adopt methodologies to ensure the training investment effectively impacts job performance. .............................................23 7. Consider methods to better compensate IT employees for improvement of key proficiencies that are called for in the state IT architecture standards and employee job requirements. ..........................................................................................................23 8. Analyze the study results when planning IT examinations and IT title changes. The survey summary information should be provided to the Department of Civil Service as the central personnel agency. This information can be of assistance to the Department as it is responsible for classifying all state titles, determining minimum qualifications, and developing examination plans. ......................................................................................................................................................................................25 9. The state should explore the use of the retiree population to help address attrition and loss of IT skills..............................25 Appendix A: References..............................................................................................................................28 Appendix B: Recommendations Summary................................................................................................29 1. Align IT training with the state IT architecture standards and agency missions. .............................................................................................29 2. Centralize the IT training curriculum within the Technology Academy and appoint an Advisory Board to direct the program to promote a cost- effective and comprehensive approach to training the state’s IT workforce. ........................................................................................................29 3. Target enhanced training investments to address identified IT skill gaps. ......................................................................................................30 4. Encourage IT employees and their managers to assume more responsibility for individual employee development. .....................................30 5. Identify training strategies and partnerships that ensure cost-effective means for developing IT skills. ..........................................................31 6. Adopt methodologies to ensure the training investment effectively impacts job performance. ........................................................................31 7. Consider methods to better compensate IT employees for improvement of key proficiencies that are called for in the state IT architecture standards and employee job requirements. .......................................................................................................................................................32
    • 8. Analyze the study results when planning IT examinations and IT title changes. ..............................................................................................32 9. Explore the use of the retiree population to address attrition and loss of IT skills.............................................................................................32 Appendix C: Project Team Members..........................................................................................................33 CIO Council’s Human Resources Committee Members......................................................................................................................................33 IT Workforce Skills Assessment Project Members...............................................................................................................................................33
    • Executive Summary Information technology (IT) is transforming the delivery of government services. Whether its increased workforce productivity, improved decision-making or more effective public access, there is a growing dependence on technology to address public expectations for quality government services. Recommendations This transformation of government requires more than just technology tools—it demands a  Align IT training with the state IT architecture public workforce that has the competencies and and agency missions. creative capacity to successfully use technology to meet this challenge.  Centralize the IT training curriculum within the Technology Academy and appoint an To promote the availability of these workforce Advisory Board to direct the program. competencies, the New York State CIO  Target enhanced training investments to Council’s Human Resources Committee address identified IT skills gaps. conducted a statewide survey of the existing IT workforce’s skills and agency technology goals.  Encourage IT employees and managers to This survey was sponsored by the New York assume more responsibility for employee State Chief Information Officer (CIO), development. Governor’s Office of Employee Relations  Identify training strategies and partnerships (GOER) and endorsed by the Pubic Employees that ensure cost-effective means for Federation and Civil Service Employees developing IT skills. Association.  Adopt methodologies to ensure the training This statewide survey, administered by the investment effectively impacts job Center for Technology in Government (CTG) on performance. behalf of the CIO Council, provides  Consider methods to better compensate IT comprehensive information on the current IT employees for improvement of key workforce’s technology skills. It also identifies proficiencies. gaps between existing proficiencies and the skills agency IT organizations require in the next  Analyze the study results when planning IT three years to meet agency business needs. examinations and IT title changes.  Explore the use of the retiree population to The survey findings, in combination with help address attrition and loss of IT skills. information from other New York State, federal and private sector IT studies, form the basis for recommendations by the NYS CIO Council’s Human Resources Committee on how to improve workforce competencies to address state IT goals and objectives. The recommendations presented in the sidebar are discussed in greater detail in the body of this report. The Center for Technology in Government’s (CTG) report on the workforce skills assessment survey findings is available at www.cio.state.ny.us/nys it workforce skills.htm. -1-
    • Introduction Information technology has the power to transform the quality and quantity of government services provided to New York citizens. New York State invests more than a billion dollars annually in information technology. This investment will continue to grow as the state increasingly uses IT to more efficiently and effectively meet public expectations of government services. Maximizing the benefit of technology, however, requires not only an investment in hardware and software, but an equal emphasis on ensuring that the workforce has the skills to leverage technology effectively and creatively in support of the state’s business objectives. The importance of ensuring that the IT workforce has the skills to meet the needs of the state was recognized in the first New York State Information Technology Strategic Plan in 2003, which included a goal to conduct a statewide inventory of key IT skill sets. The goal of assessing workforce skill and competency requirements remained part of subsequent Strategic Plans and was realized in 2005 when the state launched a major initiative to identify the IT workforce’s existing skills and training needs. Surveys involving 54 state agencies and nearly 5,000 IT employees were conducted by the CIO Council's Human Resources Committee and the Center for Technology in Government (CTG) at the University at Albany in partnership with state leadership and labor unions. Funding for the study was provided by the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations (GOER) and the effort was endorsed by the Public Employees Federation and Civil Service Employees Association. The analysis of completed survey information identified gaps between existing workforce skills and future technology needs, and provided the basis for developing a workforce training plan to help ensure that a skilled state technology workforce is available, trained and effectively deployed to achieve statewide objectives. This report from the CIO Council’s Human Resources (HR) Committee recommends actions to improve the design of training programs, enhance workforce development, and strengthen organizational and enterprise IT planning. The recommendations contained in this report have been developed by the CIO Council’s HR Committee as advice to the Office of the State CIO and State CIO Council. While GOER and the labor unions have been partners in conducting the survey, nothing in this report should be construed to imply that either GOER or the labor unions have officially endorsed specific recommendations. Description of need: getting the right person in the right job at the right time As New York State has sought to address its IT workforce needs in the face of continuous changes in technology, the state recognized that it lacked comprehensive information on the skills of the existing IT workforce, its needs and future requirements. In the absence of such data, the state has been limited in its ability to identify the gaps between the existing IT workforce competencies and agency IT needs. -2-
    • This lack of knowledge regarding the IT workforce has:  hindered development of training and retention strategies for the state’s IT workforce;  made it difficult to ensure that training funds are spent in the most effective and efficient manner to address priority IT needs;  limited the ability of employees to identify their own career development plans;  prevented development of a sound workforce succession strategy for the IT workforce; and  limited the state’s ability to achieve its strategic IT goals. Developing a solution To address the state’s lack of workforce information to guide organizational decisions, the CIO Council’s HR Committee undertook the responsibility for implementing the very first comprehensive approach for collecting basic information on the IT workforce. The volunteer membership of the HR Committee includes agency CIOs, human resources directors and professional development managers. The Committee itself is part of the CIO Council, which has membership from 79 state agencies, authorities and local governments organized under the auspices of the New York State Chief Information Officer. As part of this effort, the Committee reviewed similar initiatives that had already been implemented in the public and private sectors. Discussions with both private and public sector human resource experts also helped to frame the approach needed for skills assessment. Several of these approaches had merit and the Committee chose to use methodologies and tools that had already been developed by the federal government, which has pioneered approaches to identifying required workforce IT competencies, analyzing employee IT skills, and developing training initiatives. These federal actions were in response to the federal Clinger – Cohen Act of 1996 and E-Government Act of 2002 that called for a comprehensive ongoing assessment of the federal workforce’s IT competencies and development of training programs to ensure that the workforce is prepared to meet federal IT goals. Adapting these federal tools to New York State offered a sound and cost effective approach. Course of action In early 2005, the HR Committee recommended to the State CIO and the CIO Council that the state:  organize a partnership of state agencies, labor unions, and a University of New York Research Center to develop comprehensive support for statewide analysis of IT workforce skills, training needs, and employment projections; -3-
    •  create and administer web-based survey instruments to request skill, training and demographic information from the state IT workforce and to identify the state’s technology needs for the next three years;  develop and implement marketing and outreach efforts to the state’s 4,820 IT employees and their agencies to promote survey participation; and  analyze survey data and make recommendations for training to address the gap between existing workforce skills and agency needs. To ensure a broad base of support for this initiative from all parties involved in state workforce issues, briefings were held with a wide spectrum of key organizations. Under the auspices of the State CIO, representatives from several of these organizations were brought together to work with the CIO Council’s HR Committee. Critical to the overall success of this initiative were member contributions from a consortium composed of the:  New York State Chief Information Officer: The State CIO supported the initiative from its inception as the executive sponsor. The State CIO monitored project work progress and exercised leadership to ensure close coordination with project stakeholders and active agency CIO participation.  State CIO Council’s HR Committee: This group of CIO, HR and professional development representatives led the design and implementation of the project, coordinated partnership activities, managed the day-to-day aspects of decision making on the project, led the marketing effort design and implementation, worked with CTG on the analysis and reporting of the survey findings and developed the recommendations presented in this report.  Center for Technology in Government at the University at Albany: As day-to-day administrators of the survey, CTG worked with the HR Committee to design the survey, create marketing and training tools, and organize the delivery and analysis of the surveys to IT employees and agency CIOs. As a research arm of the University at Albany with established credibility, CTG’s involvement helped assuage participant concerns regarding confidentiality of data and the reliability of the results.  Governor’s Office of Employee Relations (GOER): The Office participated in project oversight and advisement regarding the project’s impact on workplace policy, provided funding for CTG to administer the survey and report on the survey findings and developed a Memorandum of Understanding between GOER, Office for Technology (OFT) and CTG regarding use of survey information.  Public Employees Federation (PEF) and its IT Committee: The organization endorsed the survey effort and initiated several aspects of the marketing effort to ensure support from PEF members. -4-
    •  Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) through the NYS & CSEA Partnership for Education and Training: The organization endorsed the survey effort and is interested in using the analysis to enhance training of its membership.  NYS/PEF Professional Development Committee: The Committee endorsed the survey, provided input during survey development, and will use survey results in identifying training initiatives to close the gap between existing skills and agency IT needs.  State Office for Technology (OFT): The agency furnished project management, policy and coordination support, and ensured management participation. OFT’s Technology Academy provided input and feedback on the survey development and will assist in identifying and implementing training opportunities.  Agency Liaisons: Designees in each of 54 agencies coordinated and promoted the survey effort within their respective agencies. Two web-based surveys were developed and administered over a four-week period in the spring of 2006. The first survey targeted the entire state agency IT workforce and consisted of four sections: Section 1: IT skills and training needs plus current use and importance of IT skills Section 2: Preferred training methods Section 3: Professional certifications Section 4: Demographics and employment plans A second survey was completed by agency CIOs and focused on their agency’s planned technology needs for the next three years. By identifying the difference between employees’ existing skills and agency technology plans, the state can target training funds to address the difference between existing employees’ proficiencies and future needs. The success in developing this consortium of a wide spectrum of parties interested in examining IT workforce skill development resulted in special recognition from the Center for Digital Government. The state’s IT skills survey project received the Center’s “Best of New York Award for a Project Demonstrating the Best IT Collaboration Among Organizations.” Even more important is the consortium’s continued interest in using the findings to promote workforce development to more effectively use technology to accomplish the state’s business objectives. -5-
    • Key survey findings This summary of survey findings is excerpted from the Center for Technology in Government’s report, New York Information Technology Workforce Skills Assessment: Statewide Survey Results. The surveys of the workforce and CIOs produced a comprehensive current profile of demographic information, proficiencies, and training needs of the current state IT workforce. They also produced a comprehensive set of agency-level IT forecasts for the next three years. Together, these profiles revealed the following indicators of key training and other skill-related needs for statewide and agency-level leadership attention. Workforce profile findings The demographic data collected through the surveys highlight areas of strength in the NYS workforce as well as some concerns with respect to future workforce development.  The state IT workforce is well-educated and very experienced. More than 90 percent have some college education and much of that education is concentrated in technical fields. (More than one- third hold degrees in computer science, information science, or management information systems.) In addition, about 16 percent hold current professional certifications. The workforce is also very experienced in both state government and agency missions, with most employees having long tenures in one or two agencies.  Retirements among non-managerial IT professionals may be modest in number for the next three years, although nearly one-quarter of IT managers and about one-third of the CIOs expect to retire within that time period. Retirement projections increase substantially for all three groups after 2009. The overall workforce profile indicates a substantial proportion will be eligible to retire in the next three years (especially among managers and executives) although the proportion of non- managerial IT professionals who actually plan to retire is rather modest (about 11 percent between 2006 and 2009. The pace of retirement intentions for non-managerial IT professionals between 2006 and 2012 ranges from 1.7 percent planning retire in 2006 to 3.9 percent in 2012, by which time more than 22 percent of today’s IT workers expect to have retired. Three-quarters of IT professionals and managers indicated an interest in continuing to work for the state part-time after retirement. Current skill proficiencies and competency areas findings The skill proficiency data is based on self-assessments by New York State IT employees. They reported their personal level of proficiency on 126 skills associated with IT work in state government. -6-
    • Broad competency areas were constructed to organize the full set of 126 skills into logical clusters. Collectively, these competency areas encompass the entire IT function of state government.  Seven competencies provide an organizing framework for skills development. The competency areas encompass a full range of capabilities for both IT professionals and IT organizations. Collectively, they represent a competency framework that is useful for considering both agency effectiveness and individual proficiency across the full spectrum of IT activities. While no single person or agency could be expected to be expert in every specific skill, IT employees and IT organizations should generally possess some level of familiarity or proficiency in each of the seven broader competency areas.  Higher proficiency is evident in the competency areas we call management, systems and databases, technical support services, and legacy technologies. Among the top 25 skills, ten are general management skills such as written and oral communication and supervisory skills.  Lower overall proficiency is associated with networking, web-based services, security, and information analysis and use. No skills in these areas appeared in the top 25. As a broad pattern, younger employees have somewhat higher proficiency in newer technical skills, while older workers are more proficient in management and legacy technologies.  There is little difference among proficiency patterns associated with agency size, grade level, or education. However, younger employees tend to have higher proficiency in newer technical skills such as those associated with the web, while older workers are more proficient in management and traditional technical skills such as those associated with system design and development. The most striking differences are associated with job specialties. Within each specialty area, high proficiency exists in a number of skills appropriate to the specialty. Training demand findings In addition to reporting their personal levels of proficiency, employees also indicated their need for training in each skill.  On average, IT employees said they need some level of training in 42 skills comprising a mixture of general professional and management skills, broad IT concepts, and specific techniques or tools. The level needed ranged from basic to advanced and generally employees chose the level that is one step above their current proficiency. Many commented that they need ongoing training in their particular specialties plus general familiarity with a variety of other areas in order to keep up with constant changes in technology, to understand the broader context of their assignments, and to do a good job of contributing their particular expertise to larger efforts that combine skills and technologies from several specialty areas.  Overall, the greatest demand for training occurs among management skills, followed by skills associated with the web and with security functions. Strong demand is also present for skills associated with system design and development and networking. Lesser demand is -7-
    • present for information analysis skills followed by operations support and mainframe- oriented technologies. Among the top 25 skills for training demand, 11 are general management skills, eight pertain to security functions and infrastructure, and six are associated with the web.1 Three-year IT forecast findings CIOs assigned a forecast to each of the 126 skills for three years into the future.  Most growth is forecasted for infrastructure and web computing skills. The majority of CIOs chose a growth forecast for more skills in the infrastructure and web computing competency areas than in the others (11 and nine skills respectively). The majority also chose growth forecasts for three management skills, four system and database skills and four skills in the competency area of management and use of information as an asset. No skills in technical support services or legacy technologies received a majority growth forecast.  Some differences are evident across agencies with different numbers of IT staff, but at least half of the CIOs, regardless of their agency size, chose a growth forecast for the same 14 skills, with most emphasis on the infrastructure and web computing competency areas. These 14 skills include website design and development, website management, system security applications, and identity management and directory services, as well as systems integration, project management, and records management. Gap analysis findings The data from both the employee and CIO surveys were combined with information from the state’s strategic statement of enterprise architecture principles to triangulate on the greatest differences between needed skills and existing proficiency.  At the statewide level, the skills that represent strong convergence among low proficiency, high training demand, forecasted growth, and strategic importance fall almost entirely in the competency areas of infrastructure, web computing, and management and use of information as an asset. Two management skills, business continuity planning and IT risk assessment, also emerged. No appreciable gap was evident for the high-proficiency competency areas of systems and databases, technical support services, or legacy technologies.  Skills with low proficiency and various combinations of high training demand and high strategic or future need are considered “high impact skills” worthy of high-priority investments. That is, they represent the areas where investments to increase employee 1 HR Committee comment – The survey findings indicate that while there is substantial existing expertise in management competency areas, employee responses indicated an ongoing demand for additional management skill training. This focus on management skills may be due to 1) Certain skills grouped under “management” are required by a broad base of IT workers (e.g., oral communication, principles of programming, project management, etc.). Thus, while many staff may indicate they have these skills, other employees indicate a need for such training and, 2) the current Civil Service exams for higher level IT positions test only for administrative and management skills – not IT proficiencies. As such, IT workers recognize that their mastery of management skills is the basis for Civil Service promotion. -8-
    • proficiency are most likely to result in more strategic and effective use of IT in state government. Table 1 below illustrates this convergence of interests. The statewide gap analysis highlighted 14 specific skills as high impact training areas, distributed across four of the six competency areas as shown in the table below. Table 1 - High impact areas for investment of training Competency Area Specific Skills  Business continuity planning Management  IT risk assessment and management  Systems security applications  Identity management & directory services  Encryption Infrastructure  Intrusion detection  Firewalls  Wireless technologies  Java Web computing  XML/XSL  Website privacy  Content management Management and use of information  Data warehousing as an asset  Records management Workforce development considerations  Training demand is strongly motivated by current work responsibilities and desire for more challenging work. Nearly all employees reported that training is needed to improve their ability to do their existing work. Similarly, more than four out of five said that training would prepare them for more demanding work and a greater variety of assignments.  Both employees and CIOs prefer off-site classroom programs. Overwhelmingly, both employees and CIOs prefer off-site classroom programs for learning all types of skills. Many comments indicated this is the only method that assures a student will be able to devote uninterrupted time and attention to learning. However, open-ended comments included a variety of suggestions for combining training methods into complementary sets of approaches.  According to employee comments, many approaches (and combinations of approaches) to improving skills proficiency are possible and desirable. These include on and off-site classes, -9-
    • mentoring, reference books, e-learning, and hands-on practice. Comments suggested that results can be improved by sequencing or combining multiple learning methods, better matching the timing of training with the need and opportunity to use new knowledge, better targeting of training intensity to needed levels of expertise, explicitly allocating work hours to professional development, and valuing learning more highly in the management culture of agencies.  CIOs favor professional certification for a number of skill types. Three-quarters of the CIOs indicated that professional certifications would or might be helpful in accomplishing their agencies’ missions over the next three years. They were most positive about certifications in project management, information systems security, network security, and databases. Currently, only 1-2 percent of employees hold certifications in these areas. - 10 -
    • Addressing the Technology Skills Gap Understanding skill gaps The rapid advances in information technology create an ever present gap between the skills needed in the present and those required to meet the new approaches and techniques that emerge every two or three years. The challenge for the state is how, within limited resources, to respond to changes that will help to achieve business priorities while still supporting the older technologies that are the bedrock of many agency systems. In considering the constant change of technology, it is useful to define “skills gap” when using this term to connote an organizational problem. A gap is established whenever different (not necessarily new) technology is introduced into an existing infrastructure and the workforce lacks the necessary background to implement, maintain or extend the newly introduced approach. For New York State, these gaps can be recognized in areas where organizations are significantly behind in use of technologies that have been adopted as common industry practices. Continuous assessment and training are required By analyzing the difference between employees’ existing proficiencies and agency management forecasts of technology needs, the CTG study identified gaps between current and required capabilities. This report’s recommendations are rooted in the premise that the state’s ability to leverage technology effectively in support of business objectives requires closing critical skill gaps through a more structured and comprehensive approach to training and incentivizing the IT workforce. However, these recommendations must be framed in an appropriate context that recognizes: 1) there will always be skill gaps, 2) training alone will not eliminate all gaps, and 3) priorities must be set and constantly adjusted to ensure efforts are focused on strategies that generate the greatest benefits for the enterprise. This section provides the context for the recommendations that follow in Section VI. The CTG report identified proficiency gaps in key technologies, especially in infrastructure, web computing, management, and use of information as an asset. Addressing these key areas through training, however, will not permanently eliminate the IT workforce skills gap. The explosion in the use of technology that has driven improvements in worker productively and quality of service is not going to abate. Solutions focused on addressing gaps at a single point in time will fail since emerging technologies will create the same dynamics and require agencies to continuously upgrade - 11 -
    • workforce IT competencies to meet agency objectives. A strategy that promotes continuous learning through changes in policies, fiscal incentives and work expectations is needed. The recommendations contained in this report propose such a direction. Priorities must be established The recommendations focus on the most critical gaps identified from the employee and CIO survey data that are in alignment with the enterprise direction articulated by the New York State Information Technology Strategic Plan. It should be recognized that some needs within agencies will not be addressed by an enterprise strategy. For example, some agencies may have critical gaps in legacy skills and require these to support older mission critical applications until they are retired or replaced. The enterprise strategy may not address every situation; agencies will need to take appropriate action on their own by using their survey data and toolkit provided by CTG and working closely with the CIO. - 12 -
    • CIO Council’s HR Committee Recommendations The ability of state management, labor unions, state university, agency representatives and the entire state IT workforce to participate in this IT skills assessment project has created the most comprehensive database regarding employee skills, training needs and employment plans that has ever existed for a sector of New York State’s workforce. The survey is especially important because it focuses on a segment of the workforce where rapidly changing technology creates substantial challenges for ensuring competency of skills and employment retention. This circumstance adds to the significance of these findings for state workforce planning to ensure that a skilled technology workforce is available, trained, and effectively employed to achieve statewide and agency objectives. CTG’s New York Information Technology Workforce Skills Assessment report represents an initial step in a longer-term effort to ensure that the state’s workforce has the IT competencies to meet the evolving business needs of agencies. The State CIO Council’s Human Resources Committee has used the Report’s findings to develop nine recommendations, which are summarized below and presented in greater detail within this section. Appendix B provides a summary of these recommendations and associated action steps. Recommendations  Align IT training with the state IT architecture and agency missions.  Centralize the IT training curriculum within the Technology Academy and appoint an advisory board to direct the program.  Target enhanced training investments to address identified IT skills gaps.  Encourage IT employees and their managers to assume more responsibility for employee development.  Identify training strategies and partnerships that ensure cost-effective means for developing IT skills.  Adopt methodologies to ensure the training investment effectively impacts job performance.  Consider methods to better compensate IT employees for improvement of key proficiencies.  Analyze the study results when planning IT examinations and IT title changes.  Explore the use of the retiree population to help address attrition and loss of IT skills. Today, IT is central to nearly all core business functions and to the overall operation of most agencies. While at one time jobs in the IT workforce were thought of as basically homogenous, - 13 -
    • today’s IT positions are varied, complex, and specialized, as are the knowledge, skills, and experience required to perform them. Building on basic IT competencies, many workers specialize in a particular IT discipline, such as programming languages, database systems, operating systems, networking protocols or applications. Within each of these broad disciplines there are numerous specific technical skills required of today’s IT worker. This mix of required knowledge and skills can vary significantly from one IT job to another, in terms of formal education, specific technical skills needed, agency knowledge and experience, and other qualifications such as project management, communication, and organizational skills. Adding to this complexity, IT architecture varies from one agency to another. Thus, IT workers who are qualified for one job often do not qualify for another job, ether in their own agency across disciplines or across agencies with different hardware and software tools (US Department of Commerce, 2003). The complexity of developing and maintaining IT competencies is further compounded by the reality that IT skill proficiencies are closely linked to software and hardware technologies that have ever-shortening product life cycles. The skills that are in demand today lose value over time, sometimes in as little as two to three years. This means that IT workers must acquire new skills frequently in order to maintain the technical proficiencies required by their agencies. The state has had difficulty in responding to the requirements for retraining the IT workforce. Rapid technological changes, uncertainty as to choices, and independent directions being taken by agencies, have combined in making it problematic for the state to project future IT skill needs. Without this projection, the state has been hampered in forecasting the new skills that will be in demand, communicating this information to employees, and making funds available to provide frequent updating of technical skills called for in such a changing environment. Moreover, the requirement of maintaining legacy applications has created conflicting needs in the use of personnel and other IT resources. Agencies have had to balance the costs of training for new skills with the resources required to maintain legacy applications. For many agencies, this conflict has limited their abilities to promote training in new technologies. In the absence of a workforce trained to meet emerging agency needs, however, the state has frequently relied on outside consultants who already possess the necessary technical skills. In doing so, the state is hardly unique. Public and private sector employers have significantly expanded their use of contract labor for IT services. Many employers have concluded that they cannot afford the time, risk, and uncertainty associated with retraining current employees. Instead, these employers of IT workers are pursuing a “buy” strategy, seeking employees who already have the needed skills and experience and can “hit the ground running.” While buying skills on the open market can require paying a premium for them, employers believe they are often able to access the most current skills and get a fully-trained worker while reducing or even eliminating the cost of training. It is also thought that buying skills can also increase staff flexibility and reduce risks associated with uncertainty about future skill needs (US Department of Commerce, 2003). There are risks associated with pursuing a “buy” strategy. While there are excellent opportunities to integrate IT services and products to achieve greater cost efficiencies and productivity, public and private sector employers have also wasted hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions, annually in failed contracting arrangements. Trade journals routinely identify contracting deals that have - 14 -
    • gone bad in the private sector and the public sector has experienced the same. For instance, according to the Federal General Accounting Office, at least 300 Federal IT projects totaling about $12 billion in estimated IT expenditures for fiscal year 2006 have been identified as being either poorly planned or poorly performing. Included in this list, are five projects identified as failed and starting over after spending $1.2 billion (Holmes, 2006). Included in the risk of relying on contract workers to supplement an agency’s existing workforce is the significant time it takes to recruit and hire contractors with both the exact skills and experiences needed. Moreover, for the state, compared to current employees who possibly could be trained, outside hires lack important agency specific knowledge. It is this agency knowledge, combined with technical skills and experience that creates employee competencies and produces the “right person with the right skills at the right time.” For many agencies the dilemma becomes the choice between training existing employees in technical skills to meet future needs or hiring outside consultants who, once hired, require training in agency business processes. This report does not identify the appropriate strategy for determining when best to use outside staffing resources versus agency employees. Rather, the report focuses on the status of the state’s current IT workforce and by what mechanisms and policies the IT workforce’s competencies might most effectively be strengthened to accomplish the state’s information technology goals. To this end, the following Committee recommendations and supporting justification advance these principles:  Incorporate the concept of life-long learning into the way agencies and IT employees think about their jobs. Because of frequent technological changes, IT workers’ education and training needs are ongoing throughout their careers;  Structure and focus training to maximize the benefits to the state and workforce. Neither the state nor the workforce can afford a haphazard approach of thinking about training as a secondary concern in the adoption of new technologies;  Strategically disciplined and systematic programs are needed that help employees understand the work expectations of evolving technology, provide the resources to create opportunities for knowledge acquisition, and guide employee development so that higher skill levels can be achieved; and  Development and maintenance of employee competencies are responsibilities of both management and employees. For IT workers, development of job competencies often does not take the traditional form of job promotion. Acquisition of these skills can represent a step up or an expansion of the scope of the skill set, rather than moving step-by-step up a Civil Service career ladder. The state needs to explore alternative financial incentives to existing state Civil Service career ladders if it seeks to more effectively link compensation with employee technical proficiencies. For employees, such alternative financial incentives need to be linked to clear and objective demonstrations of proficiencies in the changing technical needs of their agencies. - 15 -
    • Committee recommendations 1. Align IT training with the state IT architecture standards and agency missions. The existing fragmented nature of the state’s architectural structure makes it more difficult to develop IT education and training programs than would be the case if the architecture were more homogenous across agencies. Information from this survey offers a valuable foundation for establishing statewide consistency in agency development tools and programming languages, web tools, database systems, operating systems, or networking protocols and applications. Such consistency would drive cost savings not just in the acquisition in technology but also in the standardization of training programs and employee skill requirements. As part of the process for identifying gaps between employee competencies and agency needs, agency CIOs identified their agency IT architecture plans for the next three years. With a 100 percent completion rate for the CIO survey, this is valuable data for use in planning. When combined with the results of the employee surveys, it produces a comprehensive current profile of demographics, proficiencies and training needs on an agency by agency basis. The summary data can also be rolled up to the enterprise level to facilitate alignment with enterprise standards and business goals. Training professionals can use the data from this study to identify comprehensive programs and coherent curriculum that address the needs of workers in a variety of job specialties and in core competencies that pertain to all IT professionals. In addition, similarities in key needs across all types of agencies present opportunities for partnerships and economies of scale in training and professional development investments. This valuable information should be provided to the sources that have a stake in a successful alignment of IT workforce proficiencies and agency needs, including the state CIO Council’s Technology Committee, agency CIOs, the NYS Technology Academy, labor/management development committees and state employees.  Data should be provided to the CIO Council’s Technology Committee to assist in developing a comprehensive statewide architecture plan. Future changes to the state architectural plan should include IT skill needs as part of the planning process;  CIOs have a strong interest in collaborating to adopt shared technologies. Agency summary data could be a key tool to support collaboration in the adoption of shared technologies and shared training. CIOs also have a direct role in ensuring the training needs of their agency are met;  The NYS State Technology Academy already offers a coordinated approach to information technology training across agencies. The Academy strives to capitalize on existing resources, augment services and develop new learning resources. This additional information will assist the Academy in planning and anticipating training needs rather than reacting to them as they are identified; - 16 -
    •  Funding is available to labor/management development committees to provide training to employees and these funding resources have a voice in identifying and addressing priority training needs. With survey respondents indicating 126 potential skills requiring training, informed choices should be made by these committees to assist in identifying priority training needs; and  State employees have a strong interest in promoting the development of training plans that are consistent with state architecture standards and future needs. Their comments on the survey clearly indicate that they want to have a voice in the training decisions that affect their careers. 2. Centralize the IT training curriculum within the Technology Academy and appoint an Advisory Board to direct the program to promote a cost effective and comprehensive approach to training the state’s IT workforce. Much of New York State’s technology training efforts have historically been decentralized with little coordination between agencies. Many state agencies provide technology training to employees, with little interaction with other agencies even though there is often substantial overlap in the goals and services being provided. Agencies are often unaware of what other agencies are doing, and consequently rarely take advantage of their common technology training goals and services. Relying on individual agency initiative to develop and provide training consistent with a statewide curriculum is neither cost effective nor compatible with the CIO Council’s overarching goals geared toward state government operating as an enterprise. Since 2003, the New York State CIO Council, Office of the CIO, the Office for Technology (OFT), and oversight agencies such as the Division of Budget and Department of Civil Service have collaborated to develop a unified strategy to address workforce needs. The most effective way to advance many of the recommendations made in this report is to assign a single entity the responsibility to develop curriculum standards and work in partnership with the labor/ management training committees and agencies to develop a coordinated training program This centralized role has already been considered, even if previously not fully implemented. The New York State Office for Technology (OFT) is charged with coordinating New York State government’s technology resources. As part of this mission, OFT established the New York State Technology Academy to deliver accessible and cost-effective training services. A major function of the Academy is to coordinate and improve the technology training opportunities available to all New York State and local government entities. In addition, a major goal is to reduce the cost, time and effort for individual government entities to arrange information technology training. The Academy focuses on a collaborative approach to capitalize on existing learning resources, augment services where they are minimal, and develop new resources. They would apply this philosophy to overseeing the effectiveness of training delivered to IT professionals. - 17 -
    • The Training Academy’s responsibilities would include:  participating in identifying state IT training needs; developing an advisory council of critical stakeholders, such as agency IT, HR and training managers, union representatives and subject matter experts to implement the recommendations;  working with NYS/PEF Professional Development Committee and the NYS & CSEA Partnership for Education and Training to promote opportunities for employee training;  consolidating training bids into larger and more organized training contracts to drive savings from volume discounts;  creating proficiency-based training development plans for standard IT roles that take advantage of the competency framework, which emerged from the survey data. The framework organizes many individual skills into logical clusters that can be useful in defining IT roles and proficiency needs;  coordinating with educational institutions and other training entities to develop curriculum and delivery of training, as appropriate;  addressing IT employee career development issues that are common across agencies as well as skill-specific training issues;  developing and maintaining an ongoing inventory of employee skills based upon employee completion of coursework; and  supporting future CIO Council gap analyses to determine where training is needed. 3. Target enhanced training investments to address identified IT skill gaps. This funding should be centrally managed to ensure accountability in addressing state IT objectives and achievement of cost efficiencies. According to the Business Roundtable, a coalition of executives from large companies, best practices in workforce training and development currently include investing at least 3 percent to 4 percent of payroll directly on education. The rapid rate of change in information technology and the continual introduction of new technology products continuously transforms the mix of agency demanded IT skills. Old IT skills become obsolete and the demand for certain new IT skills can spread widely and rapidly. This ongoing evolution in required skills is reflected in the IT Workforce Skills Assessment Survey. CIOs and the state strategic framework forecast significant IT demands in the areas of web - 18 -
    • computing, infrastructure and using information as an asset. These competencies, however, have also been identified as the very areas in which the current workforce has low skill proficiency. While this contrast between agency IT requirements and workforce skills may appear discouraging, the survey indicates a workforce ready to improve their skills as part of the ongoing need to adapt to changing technology. An overwhelming desire exists among survey participants for adoption of a comprehensive training program and the use of employee talents in meeting emerging challenges in technology. What is also clear, however, is that a growing gap will occur between employee proficiencies and agency IT goals in the absence of a state investment in developing and maintaining employee proficiencies. While the state currently offers training funds through the labor/management contracts, tuition reimbursement and agency-funded initiatives, survey participants indicate that existing training efforts are not sufficient and wide variations in access to funds exists among agencies for providing training in core IT competencies. Recognizing the need for a statewide investment in developing and delivering a state IT curriculum is not a finding that is new with this study. A 1992 report from the Conference on Information Resources sponsored by the NYS Forum, Department of Civil Service and NYS Personnel Council recommended a statewide financial commitment and structure for IT workforce training (Group 1992). The Office for Technology’s 2000 Report to the Legislature on Information Technology Consulting Services also recommended a state funding mechanism to support information technology training and development of a statewide information technology training curriculum to address the state’s needs (Technology 2000). While some of these analyses may be dated, it is noteworthy that there has been a long-standing effort to address IT training needs. These prior reports recognized that the growing complexity and rapid changes in technology were requiring a workforce with increasingly diverse skills and expertise to support an agency’s growing demand for IT support in programming, data management, infrastructure, and end-user services. The 1992 Report was released at a point when the state was experiencing a massive shift in technology from centralized computer centers to an explosion in end-user use of personal computers and software tools. At the time of the 2000 Report, a second transformation in state technology was occurring with the implementation of agency networking services such as email and the advent of web services to conduct state business. Unfortunately, the call for strategic investment in IT training recommended in these reports was not heeded, which contributed to a less than maximized effectiveness in the state’s use of technology. Today, the challenges of technology transformation have not abated. The need for investing in statewide training programs that was recognized in 1992 and 2000 continues to be crucial if the state is to maximize the benefits of technology in the delivery of government services. In enhancing IT training, the state needs to target funds to promote cost effectiveness. Policies should be established that specifically link training to the state’s IT architecture standards, and within these standards to the specific agency’s forecasted needs. An additional aspect in promoting cost effectiveness of training is establishing policies and practices governing the effective timing of training programs. Survey participants have indicated - 19 -
    • that training has not always been coordinated to allow employees to use the skills upon their completion of training, and in some instances the skills were never used upon return to work. Significant gaps in time between when the training occurs and is used erode people’s ability to retain knowledge of new skills and diminish the value of training efforts. The state should also develop curriculum that identify a roadmap of competencies and specific IT skills that current and prospective employees should obtain that are associated with IT job specialties. In completing the survey, employees indicated a need for training in a large number of skill areas. While this breadth of training reflects the complexity of many jobs, it also indicates a lack of clear focus on the most important skills required to perform required job functions. The competency framework that emerged from the employee survey data organizes these many individual skills into seven broad categories that can be used to develop coherent curriculum for each job specialty. Developing a core set of expected competencies and core curriculum training courses to address these competencies is not a novel practice. Several professions have established such standards. In New York, the state also has established core competencies it expects of various professions. For instance, a state curriculum and core competencies exist for county child welfare workers and the state funds the employees’ development. In the field of IT, private industry and other public sector employers utilize technical certifications awarded based upon industry standards. The federal government also provides a detailed program of technical competencies associated with IT job specialties, self-assessment to measure an employee’s level of skill, and an approved federal training curriculum meant to address these specific competency areas. Principles in the use of the centralized fund should include:  all technology training should be linked to both state and agency standards for IT enterprise architecture and the role that each job specialty plays in achieving those standards;  training should be provided on a just-in-time basis to ensure the matching of employee training with agency needs;  training efforts should be coordinated with state labor/management committees, training credits with software contracts and agencies’ existing training efforts to maximize the benefits of available training monies;  central bidding of statewide training services should be promoted to achieve cost efficiencies; and  funding for training should focus on high priority statewide needs. - 20 -
    • 4. Encourage IT employees and their managers to assume more responsibility for employee development. The survey reported that, “On average, IT employees said they need some level of training in 42 skills comprising a mixture of general professional and management skills, broad IT concepts, and specific techniques or tools. The level needed ranged from basic to advanced and generally employees chose the level that is one step above their current proficiency.” The survey also found that every skill was selected for training by at least some employees (Dawes et al., 2006). The expectation that technical skills are obtained and continue to be current is the responsibility of both the employer and the employee. Agency management should design and support developmental activities through a number of vehicles including formalized training, on-the-job training, computer-assisted learning, self-instructional guides, coaching, mentoring, and other approaches. Employees should, in turn, avail themselves of the opportunities and accept responsibility for their choices. Issues such as course selections, time off for training, and similar concerns should be resolved by the managers and employees working closely together to tailor a learning plan that supports both the organizational and individual needs. During an annual or more frequent performance assessment process, discussion should occur between an employee and his/her supervisor not only on work performance but also on developmental needs and opportunities. This process should be sure to address technical training needs. For the training to be most beneficial, the employee should demonstrate proficiency at a certain level before taking more advanced training. To assist in this process:  the state should create self-directed tools, such as standard development plans for obtaining proficiency in required job skills areas to assist employees in identifying relevant training;  a single portal should be developed to give staff and managers access to training and career development information; and  employees should be expected to demonstrate proficiency in courses taken before attending more advanced course work. 5. Identify training strategies and partnerships that ensure cost-effective means for developing IT skills. In the rapidly evolving IT field, ongoing training is essential to New York State government’s ability to provide efficient and uninterrupted services to the public. New York State, however, lacks a consistent and comprehensive approach to providing such training. Multiple training strategies should be explored to ensure the most cost-effective and sound methods of training. While both IT employees and CIOs indicated off-site classroom training is the preferred training method, classroom training can be costly and time-consuming. Online training, - 21 -
    • blended learning approaches and other online resources are training methods that offer wide availability, cost-effectiveness, and the ability to provide a consistent and current curriculum. Further research is needed to explore why these options are not generally considered and how they may be introduced and utilized for IT training. Responses to open-ended survey questions concerning employee preferences for learning methods and communication provided insights into the difficulties encountered by employees who work non-traditional hours or are located outside the Capitol region. Outreach to IT employees in these categories should be made to find the magnitude of the problem and possible ways to address these issues. The anticipated rate of retirement over the next three to six years, as indicated by survey findings, varies from 41 percent of IT managers to 55 percent of CIOs. While this will create promotional opportunities for current employees, there is no existing IT management curriculum for developing the expertise for managers responsible for directing the state’s billion dollar annual investment in IT operations. Creation of a CIO/CTO University is one way to address this ongoing need. Many lessons could be learned from similar universities that have been successful in both public and private sector organizations, such as the University of North Carolina, Federal CIO University, IBM and Sun Microsystems. Further investigation is needed to determine the viability of this proposal. On the survey, CIOs indicted that professional certifications for their employees would or might be helpful in accomplishing their agencies’ mission for the next three years. This, coupled with the presence of a motivated IT workforce, suggest programs of this type could be very successful. Partnerships with colleges and universities to deliver training leading to various certifications should be explored. Many colleges, universities, and educational and training institutions are experienced with administering certification programs. Consideration should be given to:  providing flexibility to choose among different IT training delivery methods as best suited to the employee and organization;  identifying means to address the needs of employees working different shifts or locations;  promoting linkages to colleges for training and obtaining college credit for specific courses;  creating onsite mentoring programs as part of employee skill development, including possible dedicated teams capable of mentoring agencies in best practices and assisting onsite as projects are being developed and implemented;  exploring agency partnerships where one functions as a consultant in a technical area for another agency;  creating a CIO/CTO Management University to improve IT management skills; and  examining the merits of adopting continuing education expectations similar to other professions (e.g. attorneys, nurses, accountants). - 22 -
    • 6. Adopt methodologies to ensure the training investment effectively impacts job performance. What is the value of enhanced training? Training evaluation needs to occur to ensure that available training addresses the needs, problems, or opportunities it was originally intended to serve. Evaluating training accomplishments involves determining what outcomes or results have been gained by the state and whether, considering the costs of training, the gains were worth the expense. Evaluation feedback can also assist in improving efficiency and effectiveness of training content and methods, use of funding, personnel, employee performance and organizational productivity. Ideally, increased workforce proficiency should translate into a lessening of the state’s reliance on an outside contractor workforce when such contracted workforce is indeed more expensive than state employees. Trying to measure this change, however, could prove difficult in a climate of both growing demand for technology and introduction of new technologies. Such a situation could well require both an increase in workforce proficiencies and outside support to address the agencies’ demands involved in such a changing environment. Other measures exist, however, that may be more easily calculated in determining value. As part of the Technology Academy’s role, ongoing evaluation of training delivery methods, course content, and positive work outcomes based on training should be incorporated in the state’s investment in workforce training. Such measures might entail:  Promoting employee feedback on specific courses and training methodologies. The federal government, for instance, has organized an online course catalog that allows federal employees to rate the quality of courses for reference by other employees selecting training, and for management in removing poor quality courses from consideration;  Evaluating knowledge gained and improvements in employee performance. As one option for measuring such improvements, the percentage increase in the number of employees obtaining industry technology certifications could be measured if IT certifications are identified as a desired goal; and  Conducting periodic surveys to measure employee assessment of IT proficiencies and skills for comparison with the benchmarks established in the 2006 survey. 7. Consider methods to better compensate IT employees for improvement of key proficiencies that are called for in the state IT architecture standards and employee job requirements. Technical currency and continuous learning are critical components of a human resource management system for IT professionals. The pace of technical change that is occurring requires IT - 23 -
    • employees to be in a state of continuous learning to stay proficient in the competencies required to meet their agency technology needs. One basic component of compensation theory is that pay can be an effective tool to motivate employees to achieve excellent performance. To promote employee’s investment in continuous learning, various public and private sector employers have adopted compensation strategies that reward evidence of employee’s ongoing technical proficiencies in the specific skills and tools required by the organization. New York State should consider adopting similar compensation strategies that maximize incentives for employees to develop and maintain IT competencies that are directly linked to an employee’s job function. These alternative strategies adopted by other public sector employers serve as enhancements to traditional Civil Service compensation practices. These public entities that have pursued such strategies recognize that their traditional Civil Service processes have limitations in ensuring employee’s ongoing maintenance of specific IT product and skill proficiencies (Pennington, 2002). These limitations also exist with New York’s Civil Service process. For example, under New York’s current Civil Service title structure, professional IT positions are recruited at the grade-18 level based upon a candidates self-assessment of IT skills, grade-23 positions are filled via promotion based upon a candidate’s knowledge of IT principles, and higher level positions are filled based upon the same administrative battery exam used to fill supervisory positions in a wide range of State titles. This Civil Service exam process for filling higher level positions may well be appropriate for supervisory positions. The promotional test process, however, does not link compensation to ongoing employee demonstration of knowledge of changing IT requirements. This report does not suggest which compensation methods used in other public sector settings should be adopted by New York State. Further analysis is required to identify if other compensation models, as an enhancement of traditional Civil Service promotional exams, could offer more cost-effective and suitable methods for promoting ongoing employee learning of evolving IT skills. Among the methods that should be reviewed, however, are the strategies currently used by other states, the federal government and private industry. These strategies include:  documentation of skill proficiencies through course exams, industry certification and/or verifiable on-the-job methodologies;  bonus payments for documentation of skill proficiencies through industry certification exams;  bonus payments for employee proficiencies in critical skill areas or the measurable completion of major initiatives; and  modification of certain Civil Service exams to reflect greater demonstration of IT skill proficiencies and adoption of non-supervisory titles linked to IT proficiencies. - 24 -
    • 8. Analyze the study results when planning IT examinations and IT title changes. The survey summary information should be provided to the Department of Civil Service as the central personnel agency. This information can be of assistance to the Department as it is responsible for classifying all state titles, determining minimum qualifications, and developing examination plans. In performing job analyses, the Department of Civil Service reviews duties performed as well as the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to do the work. The skills identified in the survey may assist the Department in the classification of job titles, in the development of the minimum qualifications required for appointment to titles, and in the development of examinations to test for the knowledge, skills, and abilities relevant to the given job title. More so than in many other occupational areas, the job skills in IT are subject to frequent and dramatic change. The survey instrument, which included 126 different IT skills, was sent to employees who were identified by the Department of Civil Service as being in professional IT job titles. In addition, agencies were asked to share the survey with employees who were substantially engaged in the performance of professional IT activities, regardless of job title. As a result, the survey was sent to the employees in over 180 different job titles. To effectively analyze the survey data, the 180 titles were grouped into 7 job specialties based upon the knowledge of members of the HR Committee regarding the type of work associated with various job titles. These job specialty areas largely equate to existing NYS IT titles (Programmer, Technology Manager, Data Communication/Telecommunications Specialist, Database Administrator/Analyst, Systems Specialist, Operations Specialist, Business Specialist, and Other Technical Specialist); however, they are not a perfect match to the existing title structure in NYS. The Department of Civil Service has worked with the information technology and human resource communities in the past to modify Civil Service title structure and exam requirements in response to the dramatic changes that have occurred involving technology. Department representatives continue to work closely with these communities in identifying and addressing needs, and have expressed an interest in obtaining the aggregate survey results to assist the agency in evaluating appropriate IT title structures and job qualifications for the state IT workforce. 9. The state should explore the use of the retiree population to help address attrition and loss of IT skills. The cost to replace an employee who leaves is, conservatively, 30% of his annual salary. For those with skills in high demand, the cost can rise to as much as 1.5 times the annual salary. — American Management Association New York is not immune from the often discussed phenomenon of impending “baby boom” retirements. While the survey indicated that the percentage of the workforce that plans to retire in - 25 -
    • the next couple of years will be modest, the rate will dramatically increase over the next six years with more than 22 percent of IT employees and up to 60 percent of the more experienced and upper level employees retiring. While certain levels of attrition are healthy for organizations, the loss of such a significant percentage of the workforce can expect to negatively impact the work environment, particularly if there are limited resources available to invest in transferring knowledge to newer and less skilled and experienced employees. 70% 60% 60% 50% 41% Retiring within 3 yrs. 40% Retiring within 6 yrs. 28% 27% 30% 20% 20% 14% 14% 10% 6% 0% Entry Level Jouney Level Mid-level Upper Positions Positions Management Management Figure 1 - IT workforce retirement plans One mitigating factor to this loss of staff expertise may be the strong interest in employees’ desire to continue working in some capacity after retirement. In response to a survey question asking “Would you like to work part-time for the state after you retire?”, over 75 percent of IT professionals and managers indicated an interest in continuing to work for the state part-time after retirement Currently, former state employees have options to return to work as either employees or consultants. Two sections of the Retirement and Social Security Law – Section 211 and 212 – govern employee options for returning to work as state employees without loss or diminution of pension. Section 212 establishes a limit on the earnings retirees under 65 years old can earn without a reduction of retirement benefits. For 2007, this limit is $30,000. Section 211 provides for the reemployment of a retiree under age 65 on an exceptional basis without loss or diminution of pension. Section 211 has several requirements which are reviewed by the Civil Service Commission in reaching a determination; an important requirement is that there not be other qualified non-retirees available to fill the position. These requirements have, in essence, prevented the rehiring of - 26 -
    • information technology professionals under Section 211. The reemployment of retirees is also hampered by the public perception that the employees are “double dipping.” In addition to Retirement and Social Security Law provisions governing the rehiring of retirees, the Public Officers Law governs the ability of employees to return to work as consultants for state agencies. Chapter 523 of the Laws of 2004 permits former employees to return to their previous employer as a consultant under specified conditions. In addition, former state employees may work as contractors for agencies, other than their former employer or related to work previously performed. It is unclear how many former state employees return to work for state government under the various options referenced above. Opportunities should be explored as to the benefits of employing interested retired employees and by what means such employment might occur to facilitate addressing agencies’ needs. Such use of retirees’ expertise may have particular merit in maintaining legacy applications while agencies undergo efforts to migrate from old to new environments. Included in this review should be an analysis of the extent retirees are currently serving as contractors and whether there could be cost savings in rehiring such individuals as employees rather than consultants. Additionally, a cost analysis should be performed on the extent that state costs are reduced in recognition that as a state retiree, an individual receives a significant benefit package that does not need to be duplicated upon rehiring him/her as a state employee; this makes rehiring a fully trained retiree less expensive than a new employee, even at their former full salary cost. Lastly, an alternative approach should be considered in examining the cost and programmatic benefits of encouraging employees to stay rather than retire in designated critical program areas. Such an approach would avoid the statutory impediments and negative public perceptions associated with rehiring retirees. Particularly with legacy systems, this approach may also be less costly than training new employees or hiring consultants to maintain legacy applications prior to the legacy applications conversion to newer technology. - 27 -
    • Appendix A: References Commerce, U. S. (2003). Education and Training for the Information Technology Workforce: Report to Congress from the Secretary of Commerce. Washington, DC, Department of Commerce. Retrieved on Dec 6, 2006 at http://www.technology.gov/reports/ITWorkForce/ITWF2003.pdf. Dawes, S., et al. (2006). New York State Information Technology Workforce Skills Assessment, Statewide Survey Results. Albany, NY, Center for Technology in Government, University at Albany, SUNY. Retrieved on Dec 6, 2006 at http://ctg.albany.edu/projects/pubs?proj=nysit&sub=pubs Group, D, T,. (1992). User Requirements for a Human Resources Management System. Conference on Information Resources Management. Holmes, A. (2006). "Federal IT Flunks Out." CIO Magazine. May p : 50-64. Available at http://www.cio.com/archive/051506/federal_IT.html New York State Office for Technology. (2000). Report to the Legislature: Information Technology Consulting Services Study. Pennington, T. (2002). IT Retention and Recruitment for Government Agencies. - 28 -
    • Appendix B: Recommendations Summary Appendix B provides a summary of the nine recommendations presented in this report together with the specific action steps associated with each. 1. Align IT training with the state IT architecture standards and agency missions. The CIO survey identifies each state agency’s plans for IT architecture over the next three years. Summary information about agency IT architecture plans should be made available as indicated below to help inform organizational and training plan development:  provide to the CIO Council’s Technology Committee to assist in developing a comprehensive statewide architecture plan. Future changes to the State architecture plan should address IT skill needs as well as new technologies as part of the planning process;  share with all agency CIOs to promote collaboration in adoption of common technologies;  provide to labor/management development committees and the State Technology Academy to assist in identifying priority training needs; and  make available to State employees to promote development of employee training plans that are consistent with State architecture standards and future needs. 2. Centralize the IT training curriculum within the Technology Academy and appoint an Advisory Board to direct the program to promote a cost-effective and comprehensive approach to training the state’s IT workforce. The NYS Technology Academy should be designated this training entity with responsibility for:  participating in identifying state IT training needs;  developing an advisory council of critical stakeholders, such as agency IT, HR, training managers, union representatives, and subject matter experts to implement the recommendations;  working with NYS/PEF Professional Development Committee and the NYS & CSEA Partnership for Education and Training to promote opportunities for employee training;  consolidating training bids into larger and more organized training contracts to drive savings from volume discounts; - 29 -
    •  creating proficiency-based training development plans for standard IT roles that take advantage of the competency framework, which emerged from the survey data. The framework organizes many individual skills into logical clusters that can be useful in defining IT roles and proficiency needs;  coordinating with educational institutions and other training entities to develop curriculum and deliver training, as appropriate;  addressing IT employee career development issues that are common across agencies as well as skill-specific training issues;  developing and maintaining an ongoing inventory of employee skills based upon employee completion of coursework; and  supporting future CIO Council gap analyses to determine where training is needed. 3. Target enhanced training investments to address identified IT skill gaps. This funding should be centrally managed to ensure accountability in addressing state IT objectives and achievement of cost efficiencies. Principles for using the centralized fund should include:  all technology training should be linked to both state and agency standards for IT enterprise architecture and the role that each job specialty plays in achieving those standards;  training that should be provided on a just-in-time basis to ensure the matching of employee training with agency needs;  training efforts should be coordinated with state labor/management committees, training credits with software contracts, and agencies’ existing training efforts to maximize available training monies;  central bidding of statewide training services should be promoted to achieve cost efficiencies;  funding for training should focus on high priority statewide needs. 4. Encourage IT employees and their managers to assume more responsibility for individual employee development. As part of this responsibility: - 30 -
    • • the state should create self-directed tools, such as standard development plans for obtaining proficiency in required job skills areas to assist employees in identifying relevant training; • a single portal should be developed to give staff and managers access to training and career development information; and • employees should be required to demonstrate proficiency in courses taken before attending more advanced course work. 5. Identify training strategies and partnerships that ensure cost-effective means for developing IT skills. Consideration should be given to:  providing flexibility to choose among different IT training delivery methods as best suited to the employee and organization;  identifying appropriate means to address the needs of employees working different shifts or locations;  promoting linkages to colleges to provide training, and obtaining college credit for specific courses;  creating onsite mentoring programs as part of employee skill development, including possible dedicated teams capable of mentoring agencies in best practices and assisting onsite as projects are being developed and implemented;  exploring agency partnerships where one functions as a consultant in a technical area for another agency;  creating an CIO/CTO Management University to improve IT management skills; and  examining the merits of adopting continuing education expectations similar to other professions (e.g. attorneys, nurses, and accountants). 6. Adopt methodologies to ensure the training investment effectively impacts job performance. Such measures, for instance might entail:  promoting employee feedback on specific courses and training methodologies;  evaluating knowledge gained and improvements in employee performance; - 31 -
    •  conducting periodic surveys to measure employee assessment of IT proficiencies and skills for comparison with the benchmarks established in the 2006 survey. 7. Consider methods to better compensate IT employees for improvement of key proficiencies that are called for in the state IT architecture standards and employee job requirements. This analysis should include the effectiveness and cost implications for:  documentation of skill proficiencies through course exams, industry certification and/or verifiable on-the-job methodologies;  bonus payments for employee proficiencies in critical skill areas or the measurable completion of major initiatives; and  modification of Civil Service exam requirements to reflect greater demonstration of IT skill proficiencies and adoption of non-supervisory titles linked to IT proficiencies. 8. Analyze the study results when planning IT examinations and IT title changes.  The survey summary information should be provided to the Department of Civil Service as a possible resource to the Department’s classifying of IT titles, determining minimum qualifications, and developing examination plans. 9. Explore the use of the retiree population to address attrition and loss of IT skills.  Opportunities should be explored as to the programmatic and cost benefits of employing interested retired employees and by what means such employment might occur to facilitate addressing agencies’ needs.  A cost analysis should also be performed to determine the extent that state savings can be achieved from an alternative strategy of encouraging employees in critical need areas to continue employment rather than retire. - 32 -
    • Appendix C: Project Team Members CIO Council’s Human Resources Committee Members Jay Canetto Office of the State Comptroller Marilyn Cordell Office for Technology Terri Daly Office for Technology Elaine Ehlinger Office for Technology David Gardam, Co-Chair Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Sandra Gersowitz Office of the State Comptroller Jeff Grunfeld Office of the State Comptroller Nancy Gutterman Office of the State Chief Information Officer Celia Hamblin, Co-Chair Department of Labor Melinda Hicks Governor’s Office of Employee Relations Diane Hodge Office of Children and Family Services Robert Kelly Department of Housing and Community Renewal Janet Manning Office for Technology Ronald Minafri Insurance Department John Monteiro Office of Children and Family Services Kathy Ravida Office for Technology Philip Ruggirello Department of Motor Vehicles Barbara Severance Department of Taxation and Finance Thomas Schofield Workers Compensation Board Frank Slade Department of Civil Service William Travis Office of Family and Children Services Eileen Wierzbowski Department of Education IT Workforce Skills Assessment Project Members Jay Canetto Office of the State Comptroller Marilyn Cordell Office for Technology Terri Daly Office for Technology Elaine Ehlinger Office for Technology David Gardam, Co-Chair Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Jeff Grunfeld Office of the State Comptroller Nancy Gutterman Office of the State Chief Information Officer Celia Hamblin, Co-Chair Department of Labor Deborah Heaphy Department of Taxation and Finance Melinda Hicks Governor’s Office of Employee Relations Robert Kelly Department of Housing and Community Renewal Ronald Minafri Insurance Department Kathy Ravida Office for Technology Frank Slade Department of Civil Service - 33 -