Federal agencies involved in carrying out the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law have surpassed targets to bring on engineers, IT and HR specialists, and other employees critical to the success of the effort, officials announced Monday.
A total of 6,099 positions have been filled at the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Homeland Security, Interior, Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency, according to the White House’s Office of Personnel Management. The government-wide goal was 5,800 positions.
Of those filled, 90% have made it through the last step of the hiring process, OPM said. Another 1,000 positions are expected to be hired this fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1.
The government’s ability to hire competitive talent quickly against the high-paying private sector has long been marked for improvement. That need to recruit at the federal level kicked into a higher gear under the massive domestic spending plan, which funds projects and grants to improve and upgrade roads, bridges and coastlines.
The agency also said that the government accomplished its initial goal of hiring 2,800 targeted positions in fiscal 2023 and another 3,000 in 2022.
OPM, which centrally oversees and advises the federal government’s recruiting and hiring processes, has had a large hand in giving agencies the statutory authorities to be able to hire for critical positions.
For example, the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration, a division with the Department of Transportation, was permitted to expedite hiring of nearly a dozen specialists, program managers and analysts under the law.
Schedule A authority, which is authorized through September 2027, also allows agencies to bring on temporary employees below the Senior Executive Service-level for a year at a time to support these projects.
OPM has also created a separate job portal under USAJobs to recruit for openings funded specifically by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Currently, there are 140 open opportunities listed related to that work.
“When the President signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure nearly two years ago, his first directive was that we build the team needed to implement his historic Investing in America agenda,” said Mitch Landrieu, White House infrastructure implementation coordinator, in a statement on Oct. 16.
Molly Weisner is a staff reporter for Federal Times where she covers labor, policy and contracting pertaining to the government workforce. She made previous stops at USA Today and McClatchy as a digital producer, and worked at The New York Times as a copy editor. Molly majored in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.