By Keenan Emmitt, USAJOBS Engagement and Management Analyst

Giving your federal employees exciting and rewarding career growth opportunities is now easier than ever. Experience-based learning assignments with agencies from across the federal government are a great way to develop, connect, and retain our nation’s largest workforce. And you don’t need to expend your training budget to do it!

The Current Challenge

In today’s environment, skills and knowledge quickly become obsolete, so training employees is more important than ever. Henry Ford once said, “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.” 

Keeping pace with changing trends not only maintains our relevancy but plays a pivotal role in employee retention. LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report found that employees with opportunities for professional growth stay with their organization almost two times longer. And considering the US Office of Personnel Management’s Human Capital Data Management and Modernization Office found that 14% of new, full-time federal hires leave within the first two years and 23% leave within the first five, agencies should embrace this viable solution with open arms.

How Open Opportunities is Reimagining Employee Development

Open Opportunities has reimagined employee development. This platform addresses the needs of upskilling and reskilling by connecting federal employees to growth opportunities that, in turn, help agencies accomplish their missions.

When Ursula Koniges, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), looked to Open Opportunities to find a way in which to develop project manager skills, she found a perfect match with Dr. Lisa Carnell of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Dr. Carnell was looking for help in bringing experts from NIH and NASA together to better understand where the two agencies could collaborate on research that intersected their agencies. Serving as project coordinator, Koniges helped launch an interagency webinar series on the effects of spaceflight on human biology and how it pertains to astronauts and their missions. The opportunity was an invaluable experience for Ursula, and it resulted in a strengthened interagency partnership and a successful series of webinars that continues today.

Building a 21st Century Government Together

With a mission to strengthen, engage, and connect the federal workforce through employee development, Open Opportunities wants to ensure the needs of the current and future federal workforce are met. Novel and innovative approaches are part of this process. The platform has introduced cutting edge technology that automatically matches users to opportunities based on skills data in opportunity postings and user profiles. And now, with a new mentoring feature, users can easily search for and find mentors or mentees from across the federal government. The innovative mindset of Open Opportunities is not only revolutionizing the way we develop our nation’s largest workforce, but it is also building the future of job searching for a 21st century government.

How to Get Started Today

Open Opportunities is a free tool available to all federal employees. Head to Open Opportunities to create your account and start posting or applying to opportunities. Encourage your employees to create a profile as a great way to help them explore professional developmental and mentoring opportunities. These commitments can range from one hour to 20% of their time, but all opportunities lead to growth and greater engagement. Posting opportunities is another great way to get involved and will help your team find the help and skills necessary for success. Ultimately, this is a win-win for your employee, your office/agency, and the federal government at large.

To learn more about Open Opportunities contact Keenan Emmitt at 

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Author: Keenan Emmitt joined the federal government in 2018 through the Presidential Management Fellowship program. He first served as a Congressional Affairs Specialist with the Food and Drug Administration before coming to USAJOBS on a temporary detail assignment in October 2019. Keenan joined the team permanently as an Engagement Analyst in April 2020. He is responsible for customer outreach, business development, writing engaging content, and wearing all the hats he can. Much of his work revolves around bolstering federal awareness of USAJOBS Open Opportunities, the federal government’s premier professional development and networking platform.

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Federal Career Connection

A free resource for Americans who want to serve in the federal government, while helping the government recruit individuals who possess high standards of integrity, conduct, and concern for the public interest.

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