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Civilian Talent Management: A Proposed Approach for the Aberdeen Proving Ground Workforce

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The Base Realignment and Closure BRAC act of 2005 presents extraordinary challenges for the workforce at Aberdeen Proving Ground APG, Maryland. In total, over 5,000 government civilian positions will be relocated to APG, and many will arrive unencumbered. In addition, the U.S. Army Civilian Human Resources Agency anticipates that over 25 percent of the current APG workforce will be eligible to retire over the next 5 years. The combination of these trends suggests that APG will need to hire over 25,000 civilians in the next 5 years, most of whom will need to possess scientific, engineering, project management, and other hard-to-find skills. In attempting to discern how best to navigate through this extraordinary human resources challenge, two major issues stand out. First, the hiring method that is currently used at APG and throughout the Army relies upon a traditional advertise-and-apply process. This leaves to chance whether the best person-job fit will be satisfied. Second, the professional development model for civilians is relatively unstructured, leaving most of the decision making with regard to education and assignments up to the employee. This contrasts with the military professional development model, where a progression of training and job assignments is highly structured to produce employees with the requisite experience and expertise needed to perform at increasingly higher levels as their career progresses. This research addresses the APG human resources challenge in three ways 1 a survey of talent management best practices across government, industry, and academia 2 a series of interviews with selected APG leaders soliciting their opinions with regard to the current challenge and possible solutions and 3 an analysis of the magnitude of the problem based on FY09 personnel data. The author recommends that APG conduct further research leading to the creation of a Civilian Talent Management Program and a Civilian Promotion and Placement Board.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations

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