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Agency heads: Government has an image problem

May. 8, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
From left, Max Stier, Partnership for Public Service president; Penny Pritzker, Dept. of Commerce Secretary; Jeh Charles Johnson, Dept. Homeland Security Secretary; Katherine Archuleta, Director, Office of Personnel Management and Thomas E. Perez, Dept. of Labor Secretary speak at a roundtable May 8. Credit: Andy Medici
From left, Max Stier, Partnership for Public Service president; Penny Pritzker, Dept. of Commerce Secretary; Jeh Charles Johnson, Dept. Homeland Security Secretary; Katherine Archuleta, Director, Office of Personnel Management and Thomas E. Perez, Dept. of Labor Secretary speak at a roundtable May 8. Credit: Andy Medici (Andy Medici / Gannett Government Media)

The government has an image problem and needs to do a better job educating the public on the services it provides, according to cabinet officials.

“One of the terrible things that is occurring is the notion that the federal government doesn’t matter and it gets translated into the people who work for the federal government don’t matter,” Commerce Department Secretary Penny Pritzker said May 8at a town hall hosted by the Partnership for Public Service.

She said the government needs to do a better job of showcasing the services agencies offer and demonstrate how the government works for the people.

“I think we have to do a much better job of marketing and PR,” Pritzker said.

Department of Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson said a lack of knowledge about the government hurts agency recruiting efforts as well and that younger people who may be interested in government jobs don’t know what is available.

“They tend to migrate to the most visible and glamorous opportunities that they know about from TV,” Johnson said, when there are plenty of interesting opportunities across government.

Katherine Archuleta, the director of the Office of Personnel Management, said agencies need to reach out to people using a variety of tools, such as social media, to educate people on services and on job openings.

“Many people don’t know what happens in the federal government,” she said. “We have got to go where they are and communicate with them how they communicate.”

She said OPM is working on producing short educational videos to help attract attention and recruit younger people into federal service.

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