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A renewed focus on recruitment.

The Diversity, Inclusion, and Recruiting Division of the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) is a relatively new division within DCMA's Human Capital Directorate. Like many agencies within the Department of Defense and the federal sector at large, DCMA's workforce is facing the challenge of an aging workforce, 63 percent of whom can retire within the next 5 years. That 63 percent represents tremendous years of acquisition experience, skill, and knowledge that are not easily replaced from within the civilian labor force, considering the requisite skill, abilities, and security clearance requirements DCMA candidates must meet to fill our key acquisition-series positions.


An additional challenge facing DCMA, like other federal agencies, is diversifying the workforce so that the demographics better reflect the public we serve. To underscore this commitment to diversity and inclusion, the first Human Capital Strategic Initiative in DCMA's 5-year Strategic Human Capital Plan is to "attract, recruit, develop, and retain a high-performing and diverse workforce, representative of the public if serves." To better enable ourselves to accomplish this strategic initiative, DCMA established an Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and appointed a seasoned diversity executive with both public--and private-sector experience to head this new office in December 2009. Within a few months' time, DCMA's full-time recruitment staff members were realigned to the Diversity and inclusion Office to ensure appropriate alignment and synergy with the. agency's Diversity Strategic Execution Plan, Which called for measurable milestones to assess the efficacy of recruiting efforts aimed at attracting a high qualified, diverse applicant pool.

One milestone calls for leveraging voluntary candidate self-identification forms at all recruiting events to assess each event's ability to provide gender, disability, veteran status, ethnicity, and race/national origin diversity. The demographic data are included in the recruiter's trip report, enabling a return-on-investment analysis, which permits continual enhancements and modification to the agency's targeted recruitment initiatives. For example, it a particular division's workforce profile analysis reveals less-than-expected participation for Hispanics, we can assess which of our recruitment events have yielded a larger number of Hispanic candidates and leverage them as a recruitment source for vacancies for which they qualify.

Another area of success is targeted recruitment of highly qualified, diverse college students as pipeline talent, as well as entry-level engineers, contract specialists, and quality assurance specialists. In summer 2009, DCMA leveraged full-time recruiters as well as a cross section of more than 30 field recruiters and subject matter experts (SMEs) to participate in targeted diversity recruitment events through SMEs were engineering, contracting, and quality assurance professionals from DCMA`s East, Central, and West regions. Participation in four targeted recruitment events provided DCMA with 3 days of around-the-clock interaction with a dedicated group of 10 to 20 students per event who met established prerequisites, as well as more than 200 students per event who met broader prerequisites, After the event, DCMA gained access to 2,000 highly qualified, diverse student leaders representing 650 colleges and universities around the nation, all of whom had been selected by from among 25,000 applicants. Presently, DCMA is working to hire 20 students as SCEP participants. This pipeline is richly diverse, with 85 percent representing a racial/ethnic minority.

DCMA's fall 2010/fiscal year 2011 recruitment schedule consists of targeted recruitment events for both entry-level and journeymen-level positions, aligned by region and workforce manning requirements. The recruitment schedule is posted on DCMA's intranet and identifies the event name and location, the DCMA region, and the target recruitment pool. Each recruitment event leverages the local area cadre of field recruiters, SM Es, or Special Emphasis Program coordinators, so that while supported centrally, DCMA's recruitment is executed locally.

The length of time to hire is another continual challenge facing DCMA and other federal agencies. Accordingly, DCMA's recruitment strategy calls for increasing use of hiring events as well as use of the various special appointing authorities including Expedited Hiring Authority for acquisition positions, Veterans Recruitment Appointment, 30 percent or more disabled veteran, and Schedule A-individuals with Targeted Disabilities.

A recent special appointing authority success was an Expedited Hiring Authority hiring event in Manassas, Va., on June 29, 2010. DCMA's central recruitment team worked with DCMA-Manassas Contract Management Office leadership and field recruiter staff to hold a hiring event targeting contract specialists; one of DCMA Manassas' challenges is retaining experienced contract specialists because of National Capital Area competition. Donna Albrizio, director, DCMA-Manassas said, "It's hard to compete with private industry and other federal agencies. We've experienced an attrition rate of 20 to 25 percent."


For this particular event, there were 27 vacancies to be filled, with most positions ranging on the General Schedule scale from GS-11 to GS-13, Prior to the event, 87 candidates were identified from DCMA's Expedited Hiring Authority database. The Army Servicing Team (AST), which provides human resources support to DCMA, conducted pre-qualification analysis on the 87 candidates, and 32 were invited to interview. In addition to central recruitment staff, hiring managers and the AST were onsite with DCMA to interview the pre-screened and prequalified candidates. Of the 32 candidates interviewed, 17 were given tentative job offers onsite, and three were given tentative job offers after the event, with two applicants receiving entry-on-duty dates within 30 days of the hiring event. To date, eight have already commenced duty, six are in the security process, and two have entry-on-duty dates the second week of December 2010. Applicants not selected were given a final disposition outcome and pointers on how to continue to apply for DCMA and federal jobs.

Plans for fiscal year 2011 include continual collaboration with regional Contract Management Office leadership, SMEs, field recruiters, and Special Emphasis Program coordinators, as well as internal human capital and agency division colleagues and customers to leverage best practices and lessons learned to enhance our strategic/targeted recruitment efforts as we strive to attract, recruit, develop, and retain a high-performing and diverse workforce, representative of the public we serve, while working diligently to support the nation's warfighters.

DCMA looks forward to future success at the Springfield, Va., hiring event in February 2011 for more than 80 contracting, cost-price, and quality assurance positions in the D.C./Baltimore Metro areas, interested candidates can go to 2011 event.cfm to register.

Penn is director, Diversity, Inclusion and Recruiting Division at the Defense Contract Management Agency. She holds a 1.D. from The George Washington University. She can be contacted at
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Author:Penn, Karen R.
Publication:Defense AT & L
Date:Mar 1, 2011
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